Walter Shapiro, an esteemed journalist and speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, has penned an excellent article evaluating the poetry of Barack Obama's writings and oratory.

The graceful Inaugural poet, Elizabeth Alexander, spoke after the poetry. For it was Barack Obama's long-anticipated speech that truly showed the writerly hand. There were echoes of prior inaugural addresses (particularly John Kennedy, but also flickers of Franklin Roosevelt and Bill Clinton) in the new president's words, but repeatedly there were striking phrases and sudden bursts of imagery that made it Obama's own. Whether it was through simple language about the "the still waters of peace" and the nation's "patchwork heritage" or the angry evocations of "the lash of the whip" and "the bitter swill of civil war and segregation," President Obama reminded the nation that here was a man who wrote himself into his job.

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