I don’t know the poet David Yezzi, but I really liked his comments about the forthcoming inaugural poem in last Friday’s (1/9/09) Wall St. Journal. "Bards at the Inaugural Gates." A sample: "Could such a historic occasion give rise to historic poetry? It hasn’t yet. This may be because the public voice has never been the long suit of American poetry, despite its roots in Whitman, who had a way of addressing the whole nation, if not all of mankind... When poetry gets pressed into political service what gets lost most often is the poetry... Poems create this condition with the stories they tell, but more importantly in the way they tell them. Great poems find an expression for experiences and emotions that we would not have words for otherwise. In so doing, they give us those emotions and the experiences fully for the first time. The stumbling block for most political poetry is narrowness. As soon as poetry espouses an interest group, it ceases to speak to the widest audience and fails in its bid for universality.
Take a look, and if someone knows his poetry, give us an appraisal.