Our Twitterscript with Poet Elizabeth Alexander

Sunday, December 12, 2010 - 6:47 am

Our Twitterscript with Poet Elizabeth Alexander

Poet Elizabeth AlexanderOn December 1, Krista interviewed Elizabeth Alexander, a poet probably best known for her poem “Praise Song for the Day”, which she delivered at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. We’re producing this show for release on January 6, our first show of the new year!
We live-tweeted the 90-minute conversation and have aggregated them here for those of you who don’t do Twitter, or those of you who do but don’t follow @Beingtweets, or those of you who follow us but missed the stream because a) you were working or studying or b) because you follow so many people that your stream flows as rapidly as a spring thaw during flood season:

  1. Krista is starting an interview with Elizabeth Alexander, Obama’s inaugural poet, essayist and teacher http://is.gd/i357R (9:02 AM Dec 1st) 
  2. “Art arrests us. It makes us stop in the midst. It makes us contemplate” – Elizabeth Alexander (9:06 AM Dec 1st)
  3. “I was the proverbial child with the jug ears – I was a listener” – Elizabeth Alexander (9:10 AM Dec 1st)
  4. Poet Elizabeth Alexander on being a voracious reader: “Why would you like to make things you also wouldn’t consume?” (9:18 AM Dec 1st)
  5. “We crave truth tellers. We crave real truth. There is so much bologna all the time.” – Elizabeth Alexander (9:20 AM Dec 1st)
  6. “Children know when they’re being bamboozled. And they are drawn towards language that shimmers.” – Elizabeth Alexander (9:21 AM Dec 1st)
  7. Elizabeth Alexander tells us about the ‘I’ in poetry by reading us “Ars Poetica #100: I Believe” http://is.gd/i391u (9:24 AM Dec 1st)
  8. “I look at my children and think as much as I know you I do not know what’s in your head..and yet I crave knowing you that deeply” Alexander (9:27 AM Dec 1st)
  9. Elizabeth Alexander shares a story about reading this favorite poem on the Mall for a soundcheck before the inauguration http://is.gd/i3axu (9:33 AM Dec 1st)
  10. “Poems are fantastic spaces to arrive at conundrum-y questions.” -poet Elizabeth Alexander (9:36 AM Dec 1st)
  11. There has to be such a thing as love that doesn’t have to preempt grievance. – Elizabeth Alexander (9:37 AM Dec 1st)
  12. “Poems are living organisms – they’re so yeasty. They become more than what they are.” – poet Elizabeth Alexander (9:41 AM Dec 1st)
  13. “Much to my amazement I’ve been publishing poems for 20 years. And much to my amazement, I’m a middle-aged woman!” -poet Elizabeth Alexander (9:44 AM Dec 1st)
  14. “We speak out of what we know and what we have lived. Hopefully from that comes something we call universal.” -poet Elizabeth Alexander. (9:53 AM Dec 1st)
  15. “My poet self – she’s all intuition.There’s no program. She’s doing as Adrienne Rich said: ‘Diving into the the wreck.” -Elizabeth Alexander (9:56 AM Dec 1st)
  16. “Communities, tribes, people have always told the story of who they are in song.” – poet Elizabeth Alexander (10:00 AM Dec 1st)
  17. “You can snatch time to make a poem…They are like grass or flowers coming up in the sidewalk cracks.” -poet Elizabeth Alexander (10:04 AM Dec 1st)
  18. Elizabeth Alexander describes poetry as “a poor people’s art form.” She says, “You can’t write a novel without a lot of time to yourself.” (10:12 AM Dec 1st)
  19. “We crave radiance in this austere world, light in the spiritual darkness.” – poet Elizabeth Alexander reading from “Allegiance.” (10:19 AM Dec 1st)

Share Post


is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as chief content officer and executive editor. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

Share Your Reflection