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Four years ago, Alexander recited "Praise Song for the Day," which she wrote expressly for the inauguration. Well before the event, she consulted with an actress friend about her delivery. She also memorized the poem, kept spare copies handy and practiced speaking it aloud.
"I remember it as a seventh grader," Roach said. "We stopped class. It's a vivid memory. It's part of how I view myself as a citizen."
Alexander, chairwoman of Yale's Fendi Peekaboo For Sale
Roach said participants at an inauguration are literally and figuratively "talking to the horizon," because the event carries such immense historical and cultural significance. He cited John F. Kennedy's inaugural in 1961, where Robert Frost delivered a poem.
African American studies department Fendi Graffiti Tote and a professor of English, took part in an online Yale video event this week, "The Art of Inauguration." Yale theater historian Joseph Roach joined her for the 45 minute discussion.
"There are great precedents that the president must feel right now, such as Lincoln's second inaugural address," Roach said. He added that "the opportunity to speak to everyone, as everyone's president, is a great challenge and opportunity. It's an occasion to step back and think about the larger enterprise" in which the country is engaged.
"What good art does is, it stills us for a moment," Alexander said. "It allows us to behold and to receive. An inauguration is meant to still time a moment, after the heat of the election, and remind us we are all Americans."
On Monday, Richard Blanco will become the fifth poet to take part in an inauguration, joining Frost, Maya Angelou, Miller Williams and Alexander.
y," Alexander said.
Inaugurations have rich history
It's fortunate she did so, she said, because the first time she read the poem aloud, "I burst into extended sobs and thought, 'Good thing I got that out of Fendi Wallet Warranty
"It's the humanity of it. Much like in a democracy, you don't always get it right the first time," Roach said.
"There are some things art can say that political speeches can't say, or won't," she explained. "There are tones, there are nuances, that we aren't likely to hear in political speech."
"I feel like we don't expect inaugural speeches to be issue Fendi Bag Peekaboo Mini
Roach's only quibble with Obama's first inauguration was the revelation that as cellist Yo Yo Ma performed, the audience was listening to a taped version of the music. An inauguration should strive for complete authenticity and transparency, he explained.
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