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I’m almost like, is there a preparation for that? For me, it’s getting familiar enough with the poem, but I don’t want to bang it over the head to the point that, when I get on stage, I’m a robot. I still want it to be from the heart, so it’s practicing, rehearsing, but also making sure that inside me, it lives there. I try to approach reading in front of millions of people as I would reading in somebody’s living room. I’m trying to make this as special as I can for the American people, given that it’s a virtual reading. I want to challenge myself to imagine that closeness.The difficult thing about writing a poem like this is that you want to write it for a country, but you also want it to be accessible. You want it to be representative of all the colors and characters of people who might be watching it. Preparing for that [involved] reading the previous inaugural poems and trying to focus on what they do well. I’ve also looked to Abraham Lincoln or Frederick Douglass, who I love as a writer, or Martin Luther King, and the ways in which they used words to communicate the ideals of the nation in elegant rhetoric that [never] felt as if it was locked away in an ivory tower.
Before me, the youngest poet to have done it was Richard Blanco, who was 44 at the time. It’s important for the next generation to see. If you look statistically, the people feeling most depressed at this time [are in] my age group. It’s the Gen-Zers. To have space in such a public and important event where that youth and that generation can have a voice—I’m just so honored that I get to stand in that role.That was always a difficult question, particularly for me growing up with a speech impediment, which I only overcame a few years ago. The idea that I would have to recite this poem in front of other people was daunting, but also a really powerful and important and beautiful part of it too. The oration of poetry, I consider to be its own art form and tradition. Before you had [written] language systems you had oral language systems, where truths are passed down by word of mouth.
The climate of not only the pandemic but also racial tension in the United States and political tension have added a new layer of responsibility in my own work. It’s not enough for me, even in my own life, to just write poetry about red wheelbarrows or a tree, though I can and sometimes I do. I have to interweave my poetry with purpose. For me, that purpose is to help people, and to shed a light on issues that have far too long been in the darkness.It was such a huge honor. Elizabeth actually called me on the phone and she was so supportive and excited for me to perform, as did Richard Blanco, who also served as an inaugural poet. I’ve been lucky in that the people before me have really done their job in making me feel prepared for this moment. I did study their poems a lot and the history of inaugural poets, from Robert Frost on, to get a sense of what the core elements of an inaugural poem would be—to find something that I might enjoy hearing in my living room.
Product detail for this product:
Suitable for Women/Men/Girl/Boy, Fashion 3D digital print drawstring hoodies, long sleeve with big pocket front. It’s a good gift for birthday/Christmas and so on, The real color of the item may be slightly different from the pictures shown on website caused by many factors such as brightness of your monitor and light brightness, The print on the item might be slightly different from pictures for different batch productions, There may be 1-2 cm deviation in different sizes, locations, and stretch of fabrics. Size chart is for reference only, there may be a little difference with what you get.
- Material Type: 35% Cotton – 65% Polyester
- Soft material feels great on your skin and very light
- Features pronounced sleeve cuffs, prominent waistband hem and kangaroo pocket fringes
- Taped neck and shoulders for comfort and style
- Print: Dye-sublimation printing, colors won’t fade or peel
- Wash Care: Recommendation Wash it by hand in below 30-degree water, hang to dry in shade, prohibit bleaching, Low Iron if Necessary
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