On January 21st, poet Richard Blanco will join the likes of Robert Frost and Maya Angelou, taking a national stage to recite what will be the country’s fifth inaugural poem. President John F. Kennedy began the tradition, commissioning Frost’s "The Gift Outright" for his 1961 swearing in. Since then, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have decided to place poetry front and center on the inaugural dais.
At The Takeaway, we think poetry was built for the digital age — and this inauguration could use a People’s Poem. So we invited noted poet Kwame Dawes to start us off with a first line — and we want you to be our co-authors! It’s a grand experiment — and here’s how you can make your voice heard:
Noted poet Kwame Dawes (@kwamedawes) has given us his first line:
Say “nation.” In the wake of quarrels, say “hope”
Keep an eye on that #prezpoem hashtag – that way, you can use others’ tweets as your inspiration. If you want your line to be paired with someone else’s, just include their twitter handle in your tweet.
Later in the week, Kwame Dawes will join us to talk about his favorite lines. We’ll curate our own favorite contributions to make a listener-supported People's Poem.