September Zucchini

Via Kevin Drum, some sample work of Elizabeth Alexander, the poet selected for Barack Obama’s inauguration.

On the miraculous dying body,
its greens and purples.
On the beauty of hair itself.

On the dazzling toddler:
“Like eggplant,” he says,
when you say “Vegetable,”

“Chrysanthemum” to “Flower.”
On his grandmother’s suffering, larger
than vanished skyscrapers,

September zucchini,
other things too big.

Now, I’m not sure I’m the right one to judge because I’ve always found poetry loathsome (in 10th grade I told my English teacher I found Walt Whitman “pretentious”), but this seems especially laughable. September zucchini…other things too big? Are we talking about the financial industry or the ground rules for a porn shoot?

I mean, I know we’ve gotten in to some bad habits over the past eight years, but if we need poetry at the election wouldn’t it be better to ask for submissions rather than go with the no-bid contract?

(In all seriousness, this seems to be a reference to 9/11 (“larger than vanished skyscrapers”), which sort of brings me to my main complaint with poetry: language is best used to make communication easier, and a lot of poetry (especially of the more recent variety) seems to do just the opposite, and even worse, obscures the intended emotive aspect with far fetched metaphor. Really, zucchinis?)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: