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Unread 01-21-2021, 06:25 AM
Catherine Chandler's Avatar
Catherine Chandler Catherine Chandler is offline
Join Date: Oct 2004
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100% What Susan said. And yes, Max, the person (Sen. Roy Blunt?) who introduced Gorman did err in not saying "youth" before "poet laureate."
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Unread 01-21-2021, 07:49 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Location: Boston, MA
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Last night, near the end of the two-hour inaugural celebration activities that were streamed and broadcast on TV networks, Tom Hanks (the MC for the event) introduced Lin-Manuel Miranda to recite a passage from one of Seamus Heaneyís poems that is one of Joe Biden;s favorite poems. It was the poetic highlight of the day for me ó in what was surprisingly a very poetic day. Here it is (Ignore the poor quality and strange table of medicine bottles, etc. in the foreground ó itís all I could find). If you havenít seen it, be sure to see it through to the end.

(And Here is Biden reciting the passage by himself and used in one of his campaign commercials.)

I think Mark's bird's eye view characterized the poem and the occasion best. Sam and Susan, too, put the poem, the poet and the occasion in perspective.Amanda Goram shows bright promise. Time will tell.

Mark, as you well know, for lack of any semblance of royalty here in the States, the presidency/first family is our disposable equivalent of that. it's our version of a crowning/coronation. It generally turns me off because it is covered/presented like a major sporting event. But yesterday's inaugural was like a long-awaited (and nearly stolen) springtime for us who have endured and overcome the withering winter storm that was the Trump administration. It was a surprise, though, to feel a tangible lifting of the heaviness of the past four years. It really caught me by surprise.

Whoever was responsible/credited with the production/decision-making/ orchestration of the inaugural events of the day (and night ) deserve the highest praise. All the others were actors in the performance who played their roles beautifully. But it was the script they developed and produced (along with the backstory we all lived through) that made it unique among presidential inaugurations. It caught me by surprise. It was like getting a gift when you least expect one.

óAnd no Balls! No Balls! But it was a ball to watch events unfold. As I said, I usually donít pay much attention to ceremonial events like this. I donít like parades or fireworks either. But yesterday was different. It hit the spot where others always miss, imo.

It is back to reality today. Back to figuring out how the hell we rhyme hope with history. Ha!
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Unread 01-21-2021, 09:09 AM
R. Nemo Hill's Avatar
R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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It was oration, rather than poetry. The prevalence of rap, seeping into poetic circles, has blurred the line between the two. Oration is an art form in itself, but it is not what I consider to be poetry. She was an excellent orator, her delivery was clear and confident. My only misgiving, is that people will confuse oration and poetry so thoroughly that poetry will be eclipsed further and further: for poetry has no object the way that oration does.

Yet the eclipse of poetry can play in its favor, keeping its objective ephemeral, ambivalent, an inexplicit thing of the shadows, of reverie rather than utopian reason.

Both stir the soul, but in different ways.

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Unread 01-22-2021, 11:42 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Location: Connecticut, USA
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"Amanda Gorman Is Giving Americans Hope"
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Unread 01-23-2021, 02:41 AM
Duncan Gillies MacLaurin's Avatar
Duncan Gillies MacLaurin Duncan Gillies MacLaurin is offline
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Colin Ward's take.
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Unread 01-23-2021, 07:00 AM
Chris O'Carroll Chris O'Carroll is offline
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Colin Ward's "[c]rap lyrics" is a racist pseudo witticism that severely diminishes his credibility as a commentator on any black poet's work.

At least, though, Ward is discussing the issue of whether "The Hill We Climb" is a good or bad poem. That's a discussion worth having. The question is one on which experienced poets and readers can differ intelligently. But I see no point in proclaiming that the piece isn't a poem at all, that it has to be saved to some other file in our minds. Defining poetry is usually a thankless endeavor, and it seems to me there would be a lethal dose of soulless mumbo jumbo in any definition carefully crafted to distinguish "poetry" from "oration" while excluding Gorman's work from the former category.
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Unread 01-23-2021, 12:16 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Location: Connecticut, USA
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We lay down our arms

So we can reach out our arms

To one another.

We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

The double meaning of “arms” and the rhyme “arm(s)/harm/harmony” is brilliant.

I also like the point she makes generally in the poem about America not being perfect but a work in progress.

Added in:

Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate at Summer Academy 2018

National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman Performs At The Forbes Women's Summit | Forbes

Amanda Gorman, Activist and National Youth Poet Laureate | Amanpour and Company

Her voice in the inauguration poem was musical with a nice cadence. What struck me the most was how she rarely paused or took a breath between lines or sentences. It kind of reminded me of those YouTube videos that are edited and spliced so that the speaker never once takes a breath. You’ve heard those I’m sure. It doesn't give the listener much time to digest and reflect on the sentence before the next one comes.

It also reminded me of how some clarinet players can do what’s called circular breathing, where they can play long passages without stopping.

PS - In the above videos, Amando does take pauses between sentences.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 01-23-2021 at 03:49 PM.
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Unread 01-23-2021, 03:45 PM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Her words are acting in the world at the end of a series of events that toyed with opening a door to a more murderous ideology than we may ever fully realize. The nation has always been a mess of unlived promises and unexamined violences but something more openly hostile with more freedom of movement was trying to be born. That all just seems to close to find any taste for analyzing the moment. It felt good to me in all senses of the word and it was good in the most important sense.
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Unread 01-23-2021, 03:55 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
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Her poem felt good to me, too.

Amanda appears in this video from 2017, when she still had a hint of a speech impediment.

Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith Inaugural Reading

Last edited by Martin Elster; 01-23-2021 at 04:48 PM.
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Unread 01-23-2021, 04:28 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Carolina
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Maybe that was the point and not gaining the approval of some internet poets?
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