THE OCCASIONAL POEM IN U.S. INAUGURAL HISTORY
In a few hours, Elizabeth Alexander (pictured) will read the poem she’s written for President Obama’s inauguration before a worldwide audience of millions. Alexander is the fourth poet invited to write and recite a poem on the occasion of a President’s inauguration.
The other Presidents and their poets:
Kennedy (1961)–Glaring sun prevented the 87-year-0ld Robert Frost from reading his occasional poem, Dedication. Instead Frost recited The Gift Outright from memory.
Clinton (1993)–Maya Angelou read her occasional poem On the Pulse of Morning.
Clinton (1997)–Miller Williams read his occasional poem Of History and Hope.
(Of course, some Presidents have chosen to roll their own inaugural poems. See, e.g., the end of this one or the entirety of that one. )