Just a reminder that Kenneth Goldsmith, author of Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age, will be reading tonight at 7:00 pm at the White House for a special event celebrating American poetry. The event will be streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov and will also include performances by Aimee Mann, Common, Billy Collins, Elizabeth Alexander, Rita Dove, Alison Knowles, and Jill Scott. In addition to his reading at the White House, Goldsmith will join Michelle Obama for a poetry workshop earlier in the day.
The event has suddenly become controversial as such noted poetry critics as Fox News, Sarah Palin, and The Daily Caller have criticized the decision to invite rapper Common. The controversy focusses on an unreleased rap called “A Letter to the Law,” which Common performed on an episode of Def Poetry Jam in 2005.
Ben Greenman has written a very good piece discussing the controversy and the work of Common for the New Yorker blog.