Obama, The Poet

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THE PLANK JANUARY 20, 2009

Obama, The Poet

Walter Shapiro, an esteemed journalist and speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, has penned an excellent article evaluating the poetry of Barack Obama's writings and oratory.

The graceful Inaugural poet, Elizabeth Alexander, spoke after the poetry. For it was Barack Obama's
long-anticipated speech that truly showed the writerly hand. There were echoes
of prior inaugural addresses (particularly John Kennedy, but also flickers of
Franklin Roosevelt and Bill Clinton) in the new president's words, but
repeatedly there were striking phrases and sudden bursts of imagery that made
it Obama's own. Whether it was through simple language about the "the still
waters of peace" and the nation's "patchwork heritage" or the
angry evocations of "the lash of the whip" and "the bitter swill
of civil war and segregation," President Obama reminded the nation that
here was a man who wrote himself into his job.

 

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