Sunday, November 30, 2008

Performers, Poet and Other Inauguration Day Happenings

Update 12-18: full inaugural schedule here
The platform, where Obama will be inaugurated, as of 11-14

The theme for the day: "A New Birth of Freedom," commemorating the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.

The day's events:
Morning worship

Bush and Obama will head to the Capitol

Joe Biden will be sworn in as vice president

Obama will be sworn in as president

Obama will give his address

We will all happily wave goodbye to Bush as he departs

Inaugural lunch, parade then ball.

Read about each of these events and the history behind them here.

Questions are being asked as to how lavish should the celebration be.
Update 12-3: Dionne Warwick to chair the American Music Inaugural Ball. There's also a Creative Coalition Be the Change Inaugural ball headlined by Elvis Costello. Just how many balls are there? 
Possible performers include Beyonce and Bruce Springsteen. 
Who will be the inaugural poet?  I hope it's someone original and not the usual suspects (Maya Angelou). George Bush did not have a poet.  Only 3 poets have read or recited poetry at inaugurations: 
Three poets have read or recited poems at U.S. presidential inaugurations:

Robert Frost recited "The Gift Outright" (PBS transcript) at John F. Kennedy's 1961 inaugural. Frost recited the poem from memory after he was unable to read the text of the poem he'd written for the inauguration, "Dedication" (PBS transcript), because of the sun's glare upon the snow-covered ground. For information on the location of the original handwritten copy of "Dedication," see the article "The Poem Nobody Knew was Lost" and associated video on MSNBC's Web site. A video of Frost reading "The Gift Outright" at Kennedy's inauguration is available through the Web site (
Maya Angelou read "On the Pulse of Morning" at Bill Clinton's 1993 inaugural. A video of the reading is available through YouTube.
Miller Williams read "Of History and Hope" at Bill Clinton's 1997 inaugural. Click here to listen to a RealAudio recording of Williams reading the inaugural poem from the PBS Online NewsHour website.
Apparently, Obama will have a poet -- 1,000 poets have been called upon to submit their work. Obama's own poetry has been published in the New Yorker.
Red Room: This morning, I saw a picture of Obama with a copy of Derek Walcott's Collected Poems in his hands. I think Walcott would be a superb choice: an excellent poet and a man who has many nations running through his veins. Here is one of my favorite Walcott poems. See what you think.
Who is Derek Walcott?