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Bob Holman & Margery Snyder

Harold Bloom comments on Barack Obama’s poems

By June 25, 2007

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A few months ago, under the rubric of “The Intersection of Politics and Autobiography in Poetry,” we took note of a blogger’s posting of two poems written by the adolescent Barack Obama and published in the Occidental College literary magazine. Now The New Yorker has gotten eminent critic and professor Harold Bloom’s comments on the quality of those poems, in relation to the work of other political figures.

from The New Yorker:
Roses Are Red: Obama, Poet,” by Rebecca Mead
“After studying the poems he said that he was not unimpressed with the young man’s efforts—at least, by the standards established by other would-be bards within the political sphere.... ‘Pop’ was not bad—a good enough folk poem with some pathos and humor and affection.... not wholly unlike Langston Hughes.”

More articles on politics and poetry:
The November Third Club, a new online journal for politically inclined poets
A new & engaged review in New England, The New Hampshire Review
Neruda: Politics & poetical judgment
May the poets speak freely?
Raising Their Voices: Poets speak out against the war with Iraq
Poetry in Times Like These,” by Victor Infante, a meditation on poetry’s place and the debt of our art in the post-9.11.01 time of war & crisis
Willie Perdomo Gets Political: Where a Nickel Costs a Quarter
The Center Cannot Hold: Slam, Academia & the Battle for America’s Bourgeoisie,” also by Victor Infante, an essay on the generational cycles of poets & poetic institutions, class & politics in American poetry, slam poetry’s evolution into a new establishment.
The Beat Goes On: Lawrence Ferlinghetti Is Still a Rebel,” an interview with Ferlinghetti on the Poet as Outsider by Victor Infante
Stranded: Poet Mark Strand Preaches Political Indifference at UCI,” Victor Infante’s response to the effort to divorce poetry from politics

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