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Posts Tagged ‘Ralph Waldo Emerson’

Free Books That Inspired Barack Obama

President Barack Obama has won the 2012 Presidential election. We’ve collected links to five free eBooks that inspired Obama during his road to the Presidency.

In a 2009 essay, New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani wr0te about the books that inspired the President. Here’s an excerpt:

Mr. Obama’s love of fiction and poetry — Shakespeare’s plays, Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” and Marilynne Robinson‘s “Gilead” are mentioned on his Facebook page, along with the Bible, Lincoln’s collected writings and Emerson’s “Self Reliance“ — has not only given him a heightened awareness of language. It has also imbued him with a tragic sense of history and a sense of the ambiguities of the human condition quite unlike the Manichean view of the world so often invoked by Mr. Bush.

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Poets Who Inspired Presidents

The Poetry Foundation has published “Poetic Presidents,” a study of 12 Presidents and “the poets that inspired them.”

Just in time for the election, the match-ups include George Washington and Phyllis Wheatley (the first African-American female to publish a book of poetry), John F. Kennedy and Robert Frost (the first poet to perform a reading at a presidential swearing in event) and Barack Obama and Elizabeth Alexander.

Here’s more from the article: “Politicians campaign in poetry and govern in prose, former New York governor Mario Cuomo once said. While it’s debatable whether this epically long and tumultuous election cycle has inspired much verse, we at the Poetry Foundation would like to think that poetry has its place at the White House regardless of who emerges as the victor on November 6.”

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Inside Michael Jackson’s Library

moonwalk1.jpgThe late pop singer Michael Jackson published three books during his lifetime, and read like a writer–he reportedly owned 10,000 books and shopped at Los Angeles bookstores throughout his career.

According to an LA Times interview with the former owners of Dutton’s Books, Jackson would occasionally visit the Brentwood bookstore. He gravitated towards the poetry section, and his favorite poet was Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The article also quoted Bob Sanger, Jackson’s lawyer: “We talked about psychology, Freud and Jung, Hawthorne, sociology, black history and sociology dealing with race issues … But he was very well read in the classics of psychology and history and literature . . . Freud and Jung — go down the street and try and find five people who can talk about Freud and Jung.”