Cincinnatians responded differently to poet Nikki Giovanni's poem that she read at the dedication of the 'new' (read:tacky) Fountain Square downtown. I believe she has the right to say what she wants; however, it really was not the best place or time to call Blackwell (Repub running for OH governor) an SOB. As a graduate student years ago, I was a fan of Giovanni, and I've heard her speak many times. Much of her poetry is poetry, and I doubt that the 'powers that be' really knew anything about Giovanni or her poetry when they asked her to read a poem. It's sad but true that few people (except those who had a strong liberal arts education) have read much literature, and maybe not even one poem. However, that point aside, I felt a bit uncomfortable for a few reasons with Giovanni's presentation. Mary P. Brosmer had the best response I've read, thus far, in The Cincinnati Enquirer, 10-22-06.
We Deserve Real Poetry and Community By Mary Pierce Brosmer/Guest Columnist.
Mary, a woman I have always admired, is a Goddess! She said, very subtly and with finesse, the truth. The concern she has with Nikki's 'poem' is clearly one of language--the form and words of the poem that is not a poem.' Nikki delivered a speech, more or less. Her speech was more like a cadence. Whatever category you assign it to, the words are not poetic. I believe Mary feels that a poet would certainly choose better words in a more decidedly poetic form.
Here is also a BLOG that discusses the speech.