Kennedy chose Robert Frost in 1961. Carter was joined by James Dickey in 1977. Clinton invited Maya Angelou in 1993, and she was followed, four years later, by Miller Williams. A president is not obligated to have a poet read at his inauguration (indeed, a poetless George W. Bush was swarn into office in 2001, a decision that David Lehman in Salon called "a bleak omen of his administration's attitude toward culture"). But Barack Obama's soaring rhetoric and eloquent speaking style that captivated millions during his long campaign has some wondering if he will invite a poet to read a little something next January.
More than one blogger has suggested poet laureate Kay Ryan could get the call. It's doubtful that Obama would invite Angelou for a repeat performance, but the final stanza of her 1993 poem, "On the Pulse of Morning," dovetails nicely with Obama's message of hope:
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Do you think Obama will invite a poet to read at his inauguration? If so, who will it be? Let us know by posting a comment below.