President Obama hosted an evening of poetry at the White House. The President said, a great poem “teaches us something about ourselves and the world that we live in.” There were some great poetry recitations last night.
One of the performers at last night’s affair was rapper Common. His appearance at the event drew a lot of controversy. Many conservative politicians called Common a thug. Sarah Palin told Fox News, “The White House’s judgment on inviting someone who would glorify cop killing during Police Memorial Week, of all times, you know, the judgment, it’s just so lacking of class and decency.”
Common performed a rap about President Obama, and it was very inspiring. His performance opened with recording cuts of Martin Luther King Jr. He ended with “one King’s dream, he was able to Barack us,” and then faded out with King’s words again. Common did an excellent job of describing the world we live in. He did turn politics into poetry at the event. There was no mention of killing cops as Palin alluded there would be in her TV interview.
There were also readings given by: Youssef Biaz, the 2011 national winner Poetry Out Loud; Billy Collins, US Poet Laureate from 2001-2003; and Steve Martin, a well-known comedic actor.
The White House streamed the event live on the Internet. It started shortly after 7 PM EST and wrapped up around 8:30 with a performance by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. They did a very lively blue grass number. The band’s music was a wonderful addition to the poetry. It provided a great ambience for viewers on the west coast sitting down for dinner.