A book recommendation for the new President from Rita Dove


“I would suggest for (the incoming president) a little anthology of poems — poems by Americans, mainly poems by Americans who are not alive today so that it doesn’t become political. Poems that say: This is what Americans thought and hoped for and worried about, earlier in history. This is what we have to remember. These are the voices of the people — going to Emily Dickinson, going to Walt Whitman, going to Muriel Rukeyser, and Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks and Allen Ginsberg.

“Rather than saying ‘you must read Leonard Cohen’ or saying ‘you must read Langston Hughes’ to the president, I would give him a little anthology of poems and say, ‘Just carry them around with you. Live with them. Let them accompany you.’ And he could find his own poem that could speak to him.”

-Rita Dove, from a CNN interview:

Without poetry, what omens does inauguration hold? – Jane Carr, 1/19/17

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