Poetry Friday: Inauguration Poems of the Past

Posted on by Dodge Poetry

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Today is Inauguration Day, and we invite you to spend some time with the six poems that have been part of inauguration ceremonies of the past. While poems are often part of public ceremony, it wasn’t until 1961 that an inaugural poem was included in the ceremony. Here is a list, with links, of all of the poems read to commemorate this historic day:

Barack Obama’s Inauguration

2013 – Richard Blanco reading “One Today” (video)

2009 – Elizabeth Alexander’s poem “Praise Song for the Day

Bill Clinton’s Inauguration

1997 – Miller Williams’ poem “Of History and Hope

1993 – Maya Angelou’s poem “On the Pulse of Morning

Jimmy Carter’s Inauguration

1977 – James Dickey’s poem “The Strength of Fields

John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration

1961 – Robert Frost’s poem “The Gift Outright


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