Last Sunday, while driving home form errands, I got caught up in On Being, on NPR. The guest was Elizabeth Alexander, the inaugural poet and Yale professor. Remember her amazing inaugural poem from January 2009 "Praise Song for the Day?" Well, if you have a few quiet moments, you will so love this interview with her: Elizabeth Alexander on Words that Shimmer. She shares her thoughts on poetry today, and it's continued relevance, and also reads some favorite poems of her own, and of other poets. Separate links are included for each individual poem, so that if you only have a moment, you can get in a quick read. It's not a dry sort of poetry exhibition; she brings such intensity and warmth to it, you will be drawn right in.
Or, if poetic humor is your ticket, scroll down to her appearance on The Colbert Show from 2009. He makes me laugh every time, he is such a nut.
When I clicked over to NPR, Ms. Alexander was reading "Kitchenette Building" by Gwendolyn Brooks, and explaining the poet's use of her life experience in NYC, in a typical tenement building where you know every detail of your neighbors' lives.
So, I arrived home, sat in the car listening for a while, and then came inside to sit at the counter and finish listening to the show. The house was quiet, the kids were scattered around playing, and I fixed myself a little treat. There I sat, all cozy and entranced at the counter, listening to a masterful poet talk about the craft! Rick came in from the back yard, ribbing and giving me flak about my show.
I bristled and said for him to go away. He laughed and shook his head. "I'm just looking at the difference of you, sitting here eating Brie and listening to poetry, while I'm out back drinking beer, smoking a cigar and watching football." He grinned. "How did we end up together?" I grinned back, "Good thing you're not a total redneck." He laughed and replied "I've been thinking about taking up guns as a hobby." "Aha!" I crowed. "You never will, and that's why I can love you! You're as much a pacifist as I am!"
And that's our moment in time.
(All rights reserved and artistic license may, and probably was taken in the retelling of this conversation!)