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Dylan Tweney
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Nobi, we have posted a correction and an apology to the original article. Needless to say, we're embarrassed by the mistake, and even more embarrassed that we weren't more transparent in the way we corrected the story over the weekend. I am posting this comment here so that your readers will know that does listen to criticism, and we do try to fix our mistakes when we make them. Dylan Tweney,
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I like your piece on the beauty of all the language that day -- and there was a lot of poetry, from many of the speakers. Unlike you, I was struck by how much more lyrical the preachers were (Warren, and especially Lowery) than the poet, Elizabeth Alexander. As a lover of poetry, I was happy that a poet was included in the ceremony. But I was disappointed that her poetry seemed so flat, prosaic, and unmagical. In many ways its themes were a direct echo of Obama's speech, and the images she conjured -- while moving -- lacked descriptive power or linguistic resonance. I think that's a sign not so much of her failing as a poet. I don't know her work, and I think anyone would have to admit -- even Frost -- that writing a poem on the occasion of a presidential inauguration is a difficult, perhaps unwinnable task. But I do think it's a telling indication of poetry's lack of place in our society that religious ministers are actually free to be more poetic, and to speak more powerfully, than the poets themselves. I say that as a nonbeliever, by the way -- one for whom the content of the benediction and the invocation was relatively unmoving. (And I was grateful to Obama for the shout-out to us nonbelievers!) But the language of the prayers, I think, was far above the language of the poem.
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