Praise Song for the Day

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"Praise Song for the Day" is an occasional poem written by the American poet Elizabeth Alexander and delivered at the 2009 presidential inauguration of President Barack Obama. The poem is the fourth to be delivered at a United States presidential inauguration, following in the tradition of recitals by Robert Frost (John F. Kennedy, 1961), Maya Angelou (Bill Clinton, 1993), and Miller Williams (Bill Clinton, 1997).[1]

It consists of fourteen unrhymed three-line stanzas (tercets) and a one-line coda. Delivered directly after Obama's inaugural address, it received a lukewarm response[2] and was criticized as "too prosaic."[3] Graywolf Press published the poem in paperback 6 February 2009, with a first printing of 100,000 copies.[4]

One critic called the poem "public in the worst sense--inauthentic, bureaucratic, rhetorical."[5]

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  1. ^ Italie, Hillel. "Poet Elizabeth Alexander offers `praise song' for Obama's Inauguration Day", Associated Press, 21 January 2009. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
  2. ^ "Elizabeth Alexander's inauguration poem was a message of hope and a call to action, but was it memorable?", St. Petersburg Times, 22 January 2009 online. Retrieved 2009-1-22.
  3. ^ Ulin, David. "Elizabeth Alexander's 'Praise Song for the Day' is too prosaic for Inauguration Day", Chicago Tribune, 21 January 2009. Retrieved on 22 January 2009.
  4. ^ Spears, Angela. "Inaugural Poem on Sale", Associated Press, 22 January 2009. Retrieved on 2009-1-22.
  5. ^ Kirsch, Adam. "Adam Kirsch On Elizabeth Alexander's Bureaucratic Verse". The New Republic. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 

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