Barack Obama was recently spotted carrying a book by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott. Walcott, a West Indian poet, is quoted in yesterday’s Washington Post and has written an Obama poem (listen to Walcott here).
That our new President-Elect reads is a great source of encouragement to many (especially booksellers), as is his recent selection of Elizabeth Alexander as the Inaugural Poet. As you have no doubt read, Elizabeth is a DC native and Yale professor who grew up amidst our area’s vibrant poetry scene. The poem published by the Post, includes a hat-tip to this tradition with its reference to Sterling Brown, a seminal figure for Washington area poets.
The African American poetic tradition has been energized in recent years, in DC and other cities, by the amazing work of Cave Canem, an institution dedicated to nurturing new voices in black poetry. Alexander has worked with Cave Canem for some time.
In addition, Alexander is an accomplished cultural critic, listen to Alexander’s discussion of Obamapoetics or her poetry. The Black Interior, a collection of essays, is on our shelves with more poetry en route. Stop in soon to explore our full price and sale poetry sections.