Graywolf Press Poet Reading at Inauguration

The poet who will be reading at Obama’s inauguration, Elizabeth Alexander, is published by local Graywolf Press:

Elizabeth Alexander, who teaches at Yale, was plucked last week from the relatively obscure recesses of contemporary poetry for a moment on the world stage. President-elect Barack Obama has commissioned her to compose and read a poem for his inauguration, making her only the fourth poet in American history to read at one and elevating the art to unaccustomed prominence in the national psyche, at least for a day.

Mr. Obama’s inauguration, on Jan. 20, calls for an “occasional poem,” written to commemorate a specific event. This is not precisely what Ms. Alexander does, but she is preparing for the challenge.

“Writing an occasional poem has to attend to the moment itself,” she said in an interview, “but what you hope for, as an artist, is to create something that has integrity and life that goes beyond the moment.”

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