Friday, December 19, 2008

Poetry Friday: A Deeper Love for the Longest Night

The Washington Post reports that the Inaugural Committee has chosen Elizabeth Alexander to read a poem at the swearing-in ceremony for President-Elect Barack Obama. 

It also asks several poet laureates to weigh in on the practice of including poetry on such a day. 

Ted Kooser says: "I am basically an introvert," he said. "For an occasion like that, they'd have to bring me on strapped to gurney." 

Rita Dove says, "no one would refuse if they were asked, but you would kind of go, 'Oh, my God.' "

 And Charles Simic sums it up: "It's a nice idea . . . but it's not an easy one to do justice to..."

Really, it's quite a good article that quotes from an impressive array of poetic sources. I kinda wish they'd get these guys to offer their opinions on government business more often.

Brooklyn Arden beat me to a preview of Alexander's poetry, so I'm going with another great artist who will be performing on January 20:  Aretha Franklin. (Ranked #1 on Rolling Stones list of The Greatest Singers of All Time. The woman I want to be reincarnated as.) 

Despite the title, her song, A Deeper Love, isn't exactly Christmas material, but I think it's perfect for The Longest Night on Dec. 21.

People let me tell you I
work hard every day
I get up out of bed, I put on my clothes
'Cause I've got bills to pay
Now it ain't easy but I don't need no help
I've got a strong will to survive
I've got a deeper love, deeper love
Deeper love inside and I call it
Pride (a deeper love)
Pride - a deeper love
(Pride) a deeper love
Woah woah woah woah
It's the (pride) power that gives you
The (pride) strength to survive

Listen to her on YouTube (no video, just glorious sound) 

P.S. She does have a new Christmas album.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Author Amok.


  1. There's something to be said to get an Aretha fix in the morning. Makes me want to get moving and get some writing done. Thanks!

    Have a great day!

  2. I agree with Vivian. What a perfect way to start my morning. Thanks for the Post link, too. I've been wondering who they will choose ...

  3. That is going to be SOME par-tee! Love the Aretha tune.

  4. Nice pick for the long night. Love that Kooser quote, and thanks for the article link.

  5. I was also wondering who would contribute the Inaugural poem. I'm glad this is a tradition we're choosing to keep up, although I agree with Charles Simic--it would be hard to do justice to the task.

  6. Thanks for the Washington Post link. Love the insight of the laureates! I agree that it seems like an impossible writing assignment!!

  7. I *love* that we include poetry on inauguration day. I think it says something about poetry's ability to represent so much in so little time.

    Thanks for the Aretha lyrics!


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