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Creative Writing Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2015

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Dickinson College

Poetry--politics

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Full-Text Articles in Creative Writing

Political Poeticizing: ‘The Gift Outright’ And How Poetry Is Built On Problems, Siobhan K. Phillips Jul 2015

Political Poeticizing: ‘The Gift Outright’ And How Poetry Is Built On Problems, Siobhan K. Phillips

Faculty and Staff Publications By Year

Good politics is a game of clear, unambiguous messages; good poetry, less so. How to make poetry political, then? Take “The Gift Outright,” by Robert Frost, a poem about American history and politics that occupies its own space within them. First published in 1942, the poem is most famous for its appearance at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. Frost was the first American poet to read at a presidential swearing-in ceremony, and his inclusion seemed to signal new prestige for poetry itself. Kennedy later called Frost’s work “the deepest source of our national strength.” But Frost didn ...