[There was a video here]
Famed German poet Novalis once said of poetry, "Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason." Today, with a deeply personal yet universally-minded work read at President Obama's second inauguration, Cuban-born gay poet Richard Blanco attempted to apply salve to some of our nation's sorest wounds with language. Just his presence was historic and somewhat healing in and of itself: Blanco is the first Latino and first openly gay inaugural poet in America's centuries-long history. (Read the full text here.) The nation's collective response? "LOL, what is this dumb-ass shit? Bring on Beyonce!"
From notable Washington Post journalists...
Poetry: I don't get it. Never have.— The Fix (@TheFix) January 21, 2013
to less notable Washington Examiner journalists...
@thefix It's like rap, but slower.— Nikki Schwab (@NikkiSchwab) January 21, 2013
to Politico reporters...
What's this dude talking about?— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) January 21, 2013
I may have been an English major, but I still don't get poetry. #inaug2013— Emily Schultheis (@emilyrs) January 21, 2013
to DJ Steph Floss...
Baby Obama is so bored...get the poet outta here and let Hov perform!— DJ Steph Floss (@djstephfloss) January 21, 2013
to people actually mad because the poem didn't rhyme...
What ever happened to a rhyming poem? This poem at the Inauguration doesn't rhyme at all. It was a glorified term paper.— PT © (@TracyGorman) January 21, 2013
the general response to Blanco was one of dismay, anger, irritability, and just general confusion.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's nonplussed snort basically says it all:
Nice try, Richard Blanco, but next time how about a poem that rhymes, dude? Is it so hard to rhyme? Even Sasha and Malia can probably rhyme, and they are children.
Then Beyonce sang the national anthem—which rhymes, thank you very much!—and a country raised on television was soothed once again.