Sunday, January 18, 2009

Stuck in the Office

It's raining outside and I'm stuck in my office, so I'll make the most of it by writing my first blog of the year, two days before Obama takes office and even as the sigh of national relief begins its slow release, not toward rest, but to regather for the hard work ahead--so much damage to undo, more than we even know of, no doubt. Expectations are high, but I'm just hoping he can crash land this mother like Sully into the Hudson. Extracting the tendrils of incompetence (i.e. ideological hires in career positions) from so many institutions is going to prove tricky, at best, but here's to hoping for the best. But he can change the American ethos.

Two of the members of my Harlem Renaissance class are attending, and they will offer their first-hand accounts in class. It's a good time to be teaching a Harlem Renaissance class with its theme of liberation and free expression in the face of a nation besotted so long in bigotry and lynching. Harlem in the twenties offered hope through literature, art, and music that carries through all of this, and so, as the music plays and as Elizabeth Alexander reads her poems this week, I have to think those early voices speaking out, those humanizing voices, have finally won their argument.

2 comments:

Queen Whackamole said...

So, what did you think of the poem?

Marty said...

Elizabeth Alexander's or Joseph Lowry's rhyming close? Alexander's poem was ok. People who weren't poetry savvy, I hear, liked it, and I think that was her goal. Poets found it flabby. My friend John has an intersting take (and misgivings after of the cuts he suggests):

http://everythings-jake.blogspot.com/2009/01/inside-every-fat-inaugural-poem.html

I think he's right, for poetry, but her "pome" aimed at populism, and inclusiveness has been a theme for Obama. At any rate, occasional poetry is typically problematic. Lowry's prayer rhymes pleased, partly because he seemed to be having a genuinely good time. What did you think?