Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Obamas Host White House Poetry Slam Tonight

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host the first ever "poetry slam" at the White House tonight. Actor James Earl Jones is amongst the featured performers.

But this wouldn't be the first time a poetry reading was planned for the White House.

You might recall that former First Lady Laura Bush invited scores of poets to celebrate the poetry of Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. But Sam Hamill, one of the poets invited to the event, publicly objected to being invited and asked other poets to send anti-war poetry to the White House. Due to the overwhelming response launched a website called Poets Against The War. The First Lady then cancelled the event. First, they were appalled when the First Lady invited them to the White House. Then they were appalled when the First Lady uninvited them to the White House. There is simply no pleasing some people.

A counterwebsite called Poets For The War was launched by a fellow named Charley Weatherford and I was one of its contributors. My involvement with Poets For The War led to me being invited to write for various conservative websites including Intellectual Conservative. It's hard to believe that was more than six years ago.

And yes, I still read my poetry at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge to less than receptive audiences. Language and poetry belong to all of us not just people who idol worship President Obama which I suspect what this event will be along with a few diatribes against his predecessor.

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