Poets Chronicle Obama's First One Hundred Days

by Staff

As the nation watches president Barack Obama during his first one hundred days in office, poets from across the country have begun to contribute their responses—in verse—to the new presidency on the blog Starting Today: Poems for the First One Hundred Days. Created by poets Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker, the blog’s first daily post is a link to Elizabeth Alexander’s inaugural poem, and over the past eight days, poets such as Fanny Howe, Matthew Rohrer, Patricia Smith, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil have added original works to the project.

“We were moved by the inclusion of Elizabeth Alexander, an important and serious American poet, in the inauguration festivities, and feel that with the new administration comes a renewed sense of hope for the future of literature and culture in our country,” Greenberg said in a press release. “This project is a testament to the idea that poetry can and does engage in the current political moment.”

Each of the poets participating in the project was randomly assigned one of the first one hundred days on which to reflect on the national situation and the new presidency. Following the project’s completion, Greenberg and Zucker plan to publish the poems, which will also include works by Anne Waldman, Joshua Corey, Elizabeth Scanlon, and others, as an anthology or an edition of broadsides.