Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How to Become a Successful Poet

Do you want to become a successful poet? All you have to do is read your poem at the most popular, most watched presidential inauguration of all time. That's the lesson Elizabeth Alexander learned.

Her publisher, Graywolf Press, will be printing 100,000 copies of Alexander's inaugural poem which is by far the biggest print run in their 35 year history. After Maya Angelou read her poem, On the Pulse of Morning, at the 1993 inaugural of President Bill Clinton it sold a million copies.

Alexander's poem, titled Praise Song for the Day: A Poem for Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration, consists of 14 unrhymed three-line stanzas, and a one-line coda: "praise song for walking forward in that light." It will be released as an $8 paperback, 32 pages, on Feb. 6.

Here is the poem -- courtesy of the New York Times.

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