Add new comment

I found this interview with Elizabeth Alexander to be very thought-provoking on ways that I view poetry and how poetry will continue to persist throughout time. One intriguing part of this interview was when Elizabeth Alexander described her sound check in Washington before the inauguration. As she read lines of poetry people all around stopped what they were doing, listened, and clapped when she had finished. Even though none of the pedestrians knew her or what poem she was quoting, they all recognized her words as type of art. As Alexander said in the interview the poem asked for the audience’s attention. I think poetry does grab people’s attention. Poetry allows us to reflect on others experiences while contemplating our own and that’s why it’s topical to everyone. The fact that poetry is so inherently enthralling to people brings me to my next point of this interview when Alexander stated that poetry is a poor person’s art form.
I agree with Alexander’s statement that poetry is an art form for anyone regardless of economic status. As she stated, a novel takes time and money to produce, however, anyone can steal some time to write poetry. Alexander stated that poetry is a way to snatch snippets of time from life. The fact that poetry is not time consuming allows for anyone to indulge in the art. As Alexander stated poetry can be written at any moment in life, whether waiting in line or feeding kids. The fact that poetry can be applied to everyday life situations allows for anyone to become a poet. Poetry as life events reminds me of the poem “This is just to say” by William Carlos Williams:
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

The poem captures an everyday life event that many people throughout the word have experienced. Poetry allows the writer to capture this snippet of time and present it as an art. This could be applied to many people capturing many of their life events.
A line from this interview that stuck out to me is when Alexander was reacting one of her poems that said, “Poetry is the human voice are we not of interest to each other”. Poetry is an art form that anyone can take advantage of to tell their story. Alexander was using her poem at the inauguration to tell the stories of the hardships those in poor housing conditions faced, Williams was using his poem to tell his story of eating plums. Poetry is truly an art for each of us to use to tell our tales and share our experiences. Since poetry is applicable to anyone and any situation it will persist throughout time.
Elizabeth Alexander mentions in her interview that poetry, like music, will always be passed on. I enjoy this comparison of poetry and music. She mentions that poetry will persist even in difficult times in our world. Difficult times provide experiences to share through poetry. In Williams poem he shares his tale of what happened when he took the plumes and how he felt. Expressing thoughts in this form is much needed and will continue to grow throughout the years.