White House Poetry Jam

57421660A live web cast of poetry and music from the White House probably established some precedents. I’m guessing that it was the first time anyone had said “placentas buried under avocado trees” in the East Room, at least in front of an audience.

The 45-minute musicale hosted by President and Michelle Obama — on the same day that news leaked that the Broadway producer Rocco Landesman would be Mr. Obama’s nominee for chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts — certainly looked as if it were meant to signal a new White House taste in the performing arts. All of the performers were either of color or married to Michael Chabon or Michael Chabon himself.


PICTURED: First lady Michelle Obama speaks as she and President Barack Obama host An Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word in the East Room of the White House May 12, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool via Getty Images)