Thursday, 18 December 2008

Obama - the North East arts connection

Whilst the UK waits with baited breath to see who will be crowned the next poet laureate (well, waits with a slightly bemused amusement, anyway: see here for just one example), Barack Obama has revived the practice of having an Inaugural Poet, in the shape of Elizabeth Alexander. What's more she's published - in the UK - by Northumberland-based international poetry phenomenon Bloodaxe Books, whose 30th birthday I wrote about in October. Elizabeth Alexander is one of a number of fine American poets published by Bloodaxe. You can read about her role in Obama's inauguration here. I just knew there had to be a connection between the new President and Arts Council England's RFOs...

It's good to see the new President including poetry in what is bound to be an emotional occasion. Perhaps the new laureate - whoever she or he is - could pop up in Parliament from time to time?

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