Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Professor Elizabeth Alexander

Cross posted by Gary Fouse

Elizabeth Alexander- literary giant

"Roses are red,
violets are blue,
my car is green,
my house is orange"

I was reminded of the above while I listened to Elizabeth Alexander read her poem yesterday at the Obama inaugural. Now, let me confess at the outset that I know little or nothing about poetry, except that it is supposed to rhyme-or has that gone out of style? Frankly, I thought the lady was breaking down the upcoming Super Bowl game except she never mentioned who was going to win. I've heard more sensible prose in barrooms at closing time.

"One, two, three, four,
what time is it?"

The only time in my life I ever did any research about poetry was when I was writing my books about the languages of the former Soviet republics and Papiamentu, a creole language spoken in the Dutch Antilles. Since poets usually have a lot to do with the development and standardization of languages, it was necessary for me to learn about the important poets of those respective languages who played important roles.

Hopefully, such will not be the case for Ms Alexander. If this is an example of modern poetry, then it must rank alongside what modern art did to art and hip-hop did to music (destroyed them).

Check this one out and note it's message.

..."from this table, I’d spirit
his knives and cut out his black heart,
seal it with science fluid inside
a bell jar, place it on a low
shelf in a white man’s museum
so the whole world could see
it was shriveled and hard,
geometric, deformed, unnatural."

From "The Venus Hottentot"
(a poem about slavery in Europe)

Or these lines excerpted from "Neonatology":

“a soggy, bloody crotch, is.....

“sharp jets of breast milk shot straight across the room,

“is gaudy, mustard-colored poop, is.....

“postpartum tears that soak the baby’s lovely head.

“Shockingly vital, mammoth giblet,

“the second living thing to break free

“of my body in fifteen minutes.

“The midwife presents it on a platter."

As Lawrence Welk used to say, "Ah horrible, ah horrible ah".

That's how you get a PHD, folks. Yep, Dr Alexander has all the requisite degrees, honors and awards from the hallowed halls of academia-too numerous to list here on my humble little blog. She is a pal of Obama from Chicago and is now a professor of English and African-American Studies at ..ahem...Yale University.

"All rise!"

So now that Bill Clinton has dropped Maya Angelou on us, we get Elizabeth Alexander. Frankly, I'm up to here with poetry, especially after seeing all these dopey pro-Hamas rallies going on here in the States, you know, like...

"From the river to the sea,
Palestine will be free"

(Actually it sounds pretty good with a bullhorn-better than something about a baby being born.)

Hey, that rhymes! I'm a poet and don't know it.

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