Elizabeth Alexander's Poetry – on a Sleety Saturday

There’s a very interesting article posted on Christmas Eve in the NY Times about Elizabeth Alexander – the poet who’ll be reading at Obama’s Inauguration.

But for now, here is Elizabeth Alexander reading Ars Poetica #92:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lC9Vyhir2Y

… and here is a reading by aichlee of the venus hottentot by Ms. Alexander.  The reading by aichlee reminds me a little of Jill Scott’s musical voice – lovely.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziDenpK_mZM

… and here is a lovely, disturbing poem by EA titled Blues … from Poets.org

Blues
by Elizabeth Alexander

I am lazy, the laziest
girl in the world. I sleep during
the day when I want to, ’til
my face is creased and swollen,
’til my lips are dry and hot. I
eat as I please: cookies and milk
after lunch, butter and sour cream
on my baked potato, foods that
slothful people eat, that turn
yellow and opaque beneath the skin.
Sometimes come dinnertime Sunday
I am still in my nightgown, the one
with the lace trim listing because
I have not mended it. Many days
I do not exercise, only
consider it, then rub my curdy
belly and lie down. Even
my poems are lazy. I use
syllabics instead of iambs,
prefer slant to the gong of full rhyme,
write briefly while others go
for pages. And yesterday,
for example, I did not work at all!
I got in my car and I drove
to factory outlet stores, purchased
stockings and panties and socks
with my father’s money.

To think, in childhood I missed only
one day of school per year. I went
to ballet class four days a week
at four-forty-five and on
Saturdays, beginning always
with plie, ending with curtsy.
To think, I knew only industry,
the industry of my race
and of immigrants, the radio
tuned always to the station
that said, Line up your summer
job months in advance. Work hard
and do not shame your family,
who worked hard to give you what you have.
There is no sin but sloth. Burn
to a wick and keep moving.

I avoided sleep for years,
up at night replaying
evening news stories about
nearby jailbreaks, fat people
who ate fried chicken and woke up
dead. In sleep I am looking
for poems in the shape of open
V’s of birds flying in formation,
or open arms saying, I forgive you, all.

Last … but surely not least … an inspiring piece about Obama’s work-out regimen – that I will assuredly be taking to heart in a few days when the resolutions kick in (as I have every confidence they will this year)!

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