The Bush administration promises to be as artistic as it is qualified. Second lady Lynne Cheney, after all, has written three novels, and Attorney General-in-waiting John Ashcroft shows promise as a songwriter-poet. (Chatterbox recently celebrated Ashcroft’s lyricism.)
So Chatterbox was surprised and dismayed to learn that President Bush will not continue the quasi-custom of an inaugural poem. Robert Frost read “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. James Dickey read “The Strength of Fields” at Jimmy Carter’s inauguration-eve gala. Bill Clinton recruited Maya Angelou to write and read a poem (“On the Pulse of Morning“) for his first inauguration and Miller Williams to do the same for his second.
Dubya has decided to streamline the ceremony by skipping the poem, but perhaps Slate can persuade him to reconsider. Chatterbox invites readers to write their own poem (or repurpose an already written poem) for the Bush inauguration. It should capture the majestic, soaring promise of the new president and the coming four years. Any form of poetry is welcome–including haiku, limerick, sonnet, epic, and, the president-elect’s own favorite, blank verse.
All entries should be sent to Chatterbox@slate.com and received by noon EST on Wednesday, Jan. 17.