El poeta Barack Obama
En el artículo que mencioné ayer sobre las lecturas del Presidente de EEUU Barak Obama comentaron, muy de paso, que Obama alguna vez quiso ser escritor. ¿Habrá querido ser un novelista como James Baldwin? ¿O quizá un poeta como Derek Walcott? Como sea, en los blogs de The Guardian un inocultablemente entusiasta Jay Parini dice que el discurso inaugural de Obama fue poesía pura. Y de la buena.
But could it truly be termed "poetry"? If, as Gerard Manley Hopkins once suggested, poetry is "the common language heightened", then President Obama (how I loved typing that phrase for the first time) became a poet in his speech. He made the language itself resonate; and he did so not by fancy writing or superficially elevated diction or self-conscious parallelism in the syntax. Anyone who rereads the speech closely will see that he used only the simplest of words: "new", "nation", "now", "generation", "common", "courage", "world". And he spoke these words in straightforward cadences that have already become familiar, drawing them out to exactly the right length. (...) Complaints about the speech's content are already being heard. Obama didn't address many of the serious issues before him, such as Gaza. While he touched a few obvious bases, such as global warming, he did so lightly. He ignored specifics in a way bound to annoy segments of his public. And yet this speech moved me - as only real poetry does - on the deepest level. Not generally one for tears, I had wet cheeks as I listened, and I wasn't alone. I felt proud to be an American on Inauguration Day - a ridiculous thing to say, I know. That pride may not last very long, and I don't want it to last in that way. But as Obama spoke, as when any poet reads a wonderful and true poem, the listener became the words. Speaker and audience responded as one. It was all performance, and yet it was a genuine form of poetry: pure, simple, and direct. The winds of history, of course, blew hard at the president's back, lifting his words across the expanse Washington and the world beyond. He had to say very little to say a lot. But - like all good poets – he understood what little needed to be said, and how much this fragment of language mattered to a world in desperate need, at that very hour, of these exact words.