Oh my gosh, now he’s a poetry expert.
President Obama weighed in last night in the East Room on the meaning of poetry:
“The power of poetry is everybody experiences it differently. There are no rules on what makes a great poem,” Obama said. “Instead, a great poem is one that resonates with us and challenges us and teaches us something about ourselves.”
This should come as news to Aristotle and Shakespeare, those rule-bound fools. But the real news is what the president didn’t say-he made no reference to the controversy about Common, the rapper, whose “poetry” celebrates a cop killer and urges burning President Bush (burning bush-geddit?), and who was present last night. The president hailed those present as being among the nation’s greatest performers.
ABC News has printed Common’s rap lyrics from last night at the White House in full. I have culled just a few gemliken lines:
“I woke up with the sunshine. A sunshine I had never seen. There was light at the end of it. Reminded me to forever dream. I was dreaming I walked into the White House. With love on my sleeve. And love for each and every one of you. Reminding you to believe. These are the words of a believer achiever. Leader of the globe, feed the souls of those in need. I bleed the blood of the struggle. Walking over troubled puddles.
Feeder of souls? Scary. This concept of the presidency is a long way from the Federalist Papers. But then Common’s poetry is a long way from-well-the concept of poetry.