Response to a Poem Praise Song for the Day - Essay by Terrencejerome



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Response to a Poem: Praise Song for the Day Essay

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Response to a Poem: Praise Song for the Day

ENG 125 Introduction to Literature

March 4, 2013


Ashford University

Response to a Poem: Praise Song for the Day

On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, in Washington, D.C., the first African-American Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America. According to the Poetry Foundation, retrieved from website, “Elizabeth Alexander’s careful, precise poetry, and her awareness of history, especially African-American history, as well as her personal friendship with the Obamas, made her a natural choice as President Obama’s inaugural poet.” During the inauguration commencement, Elizabeth Alexander delivered the inaugural poem “Praise Song for the Day.” Alexander’s poem was “charged with the task of addressing Obama’s vision of reconstructing the United States’ class relation, if not explicitly its racial ones” (McCann, 2009). Despite some mixed reviews, Alexander’s poem uses descriptive words, figurative language, and lyric poetry tools.

The poem has a structure and style that is known as a praise song in African literary. A praise song is a traditional African forms of poetry that use descriptive words. Alexander used this form of literary structure in pointing out the African history within the American culture. In the first stanza, Alexander paints a picture of everyday life in the United States.

Each day we go about our business,

Walking past each other, catching each other’s

Eyes or not, about to speak or specking.

In other words, people go through life and fail to get to know or understand their neighbors or the person walking down the street next to them. They fear their fellow man or woman because they cannot or do not know how to communicate with them.

In the most important stanza, Alexander reflects on the history of the United States Slavery.

Say it plain: that many...

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