A Translation: From Jealous Poet-Speak to English

So I guess Elizabeth Alexander’s inaugural poem has been getting panned by people in poetry circles.  For instance, in an article on guardian.co.uk, Carol Rumens said that “Elizabeth Alexander’s praise poem was way too prosy”  You bitch!  Eh…I guess…is that what the poetry circle calls getting “panned,” or being, as STLToday.com called it, “harsh?”

STLToday.com’s Book Blog had more on this issue though, when they called on River Styx editor Richard Newman on what his thoughts on Tuesday’s most famous poem.  What follows is a long meandering quote from Newman that I will now translate for you:

“I haven’t read the poem on the page, and I was very distracted hearing her read it because the camera was panning through cheering crowds and weeping individuals.

“How dare TV ruin a poem!  Don’t they know nothing says exciting broadcast like a single camera focused on someone reading off a little sheet of paper?”

Some parts of the poem seemed more interesting than others, but I it seemed to end on an nice note.

“It sucked.”

I admit that during much of the poem I was also thinking, “Geez, I’m glad I don’t have to write an inaugural poem!”

“I’m a liar.”

I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to capture the moment of a nation, especially this president at this time in our history, with all hopes and expectations we’ve pinned on this one man, plus the desire for change and the relief that the past administration is finally out the door!

“I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to capture the moment…but what the hell…I’m going to try to sum up the main points in one long-ass sentence…maybe throw in a leftist jab at the end…I am a poet after all!”

Our new president has an almost impossible job, and I would think writing about it would be almost as hard.

“I think writing a poem is basically as hard as fixing a country that has just be butt-fucked by a rolled up copy of the constitution for 8 years.  I’m as high as a kite.”

Finally, I thought it was funny that so many people decided to leave when the poet took the podium, which probably says a great deal about the importance of poets and poetry to most Americans–unless of course they’re reading their own poems!”

“Not only was I surprised that the majority of American’s aren’t into poetry, I actually think they go home and write their own poems.  Seriously…I’m very very high.”

For the full post check out “St. Louis Writers react to inaugural poem” on Book Blog