Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What Obama Means for Poets

On the day I was born, May 14th 1967 African Americans had been using the same water fountains as Whites in the south for two years. I have witnessed bussing, White Flight, Willie Horton and Law and Order pleas within my lifetime. I have also witnessed the election of an African American president.

What does this mean for poets?

I believe that in many ways it destroys current paradigms of poetry built on irony and inside baseball. So much of our current poetry is vaguely political, ironic and cynical. How is one cynical and ironic in front of President Barack Obama? We poets need to look again at what we do and realize last night the world has changed, for the better. We are entering a new world and one where we as Americans are not reviled in the world. How will we deal with that?

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