"Ars Poetica #100: I Believe" by Elizabeth Alexander

In the midst of a news report about President-elect Obama's inauguration today, I saw a reference to poet Elizabeth Alexander, who will be performing at the ceremony (along with Aretha Franklin, which is awesome). Obama is reinstating the tradition of an inaugural poem after our esteemed current president dropped it. Anyway, I had never heard of Ms. Alexander, so I Googled around and found her website, and I quite like this:

Ars Poetica #100: I Believe

Poetry, I tell my students,
is idiosyncratic. Poetry

is where we are ourselves,
(though Sterling Brown said

“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I’”)
digging in the clam flats

for the shell that snaps,
emptying the proverbial pocketbook.

Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,

overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way

to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)

is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.

Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,

and are we not of interest to each other?