Thursday, November 6, 2008

An Open Call

AS SOON AS BARACK Obama was elected president, the first question asked in emails and texts from Dallas to Dubai was the obvious--who will Obama select to deliver the inaugural poem?

As loyal readers may remember, TWR was first on the inaugural poem scene back when the world was different. But now, it's all Chris Todd, Chris Matthews, Bill O'Reilly, Katie Couric, Cokie Roberts and others can talk about. Rita Dove? Nikki Giovanni? Maybe the underrated Terrance Hayes. Who knows? One thing we all know, the oddsmakers in Vegas are going crazy handicapping poets. Yousef Komunyakaa I put at 3 to 1.

In the spirit of this new era, for the first time, we're asking for comments, predictions, and suggestions. That's right: The Weekly Rader is making an open call. Send or post who you think President-Elect Obama should select to read the next inaugural poem.

Either email or post your comment below. We'll do a summary post toward the end of the year.


  1. great question!

    although she's less a poet and more an author-environmentalist-activist, i vote for ...

    Terry Tempest Williams.

  2. They'll probably choose Maya Angelou. Sigh. But as long as you're asking, how about Amiri Baraka?! Or if that's too many people with funny names on the dais at the same time, I vote for Rita Dove or Lucille Clifton.

  3. It's going to be Natasha Trethewey. The end. She's young. She's a great poet. Award winner. Let's think youth. That too, is another change we can live with.

  4. If Sir Mix-A-Lot can get the day off, he's a lock. Craig, his manager, is kind of a douche, though, so odds are against what would be an amazing spectacle. Those Cinnabons aren't going to frost themselves, I guess.

  5. Everyone is wrong, wrong, wrong. In the spirit of Obama bi-partisanship, and to show appreciation for resuscitating the NEA, Dana Gioia (don’t scoff!) will re-enter the world as a writer (he steps down from his chairmanship in January), having been chosen to deliver the inaugural poem. Only don’t let this secret get out: he’s not a real Republican, as according to literati lore (we’ve all heard someone spread this vicious rumor). In fact, he says he has contributed to the Green Party.

    Of course, the dark horse candidate is surely Ted Kooser. Obama is a Midwesterner, afterall. And Kooser would be a surefire way to gear up support for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.