Friday, February 6, 2009

Inaugural Poem Re-Mix

BACK IN 2004, NEW JERSEY'S WFMU did a fabulous re-mix of the Republican National Convention. Republicans had never been so funny.

This year, WFMU is back with an inaugural poem re-mix contest. Posted on the site are 51 different versions of Elizabeth Alexander's inaugural poem sent in by listeners who were encouraged to make Alexander's poem their own. Sped up, set to music, funked up . . .it doesn't matter.

David Lynch fans will thrill to incantatory rhythms of the Log Lady from Twin Peaks version, while Beavis and Butthead loyalists will appreciate this locker room version.

Though the contest is a bit of a stunt, it also raises fun questions about the degree to which art is democratic. Is the poem Alexander's or ours? Is it disrespectful to turn the most watched poetry reading in the history of the world into a log lady chant? Is Alexander being mocked, or is this an homage?

From our perspective, any time people interact with a poem with this much attention to detail, it's a good thing for poetry--and a great thing for listener-supported radio.

1 comment:

  1. Bailout 2008, a poem by David Jeffrey:

    Like a bloodied warrior,
    laying broken and torn.

    Like a dying soldier, hopeless and forlorn.

    But the blood, it be green,
    the color of money.

    And the soldier is an economy,
    and it is anything but funny.

    Broken are it’s people and shattered are their dreams.

    Thanks to the ultra rich and their full proof schemes.

    It is a tragedy with more pain to come.

    Finance will be Hell, and their wills will be done.