The burden of reading a poem to the entire nation and the world, on the occasion of a particularly historic inauguration, is tremendous of course. I commend Elizabeth Alexander for reading a poem that was not obscure, not meant only for an audience of poets, that did not subscribe to the current preference for language over sense.
Not that a poet would dare be so impertinent, but you never know.
Still, the line where she invoked the dead who "picked the cotton" in this nation lost its impact when she saw fit to include "and the lettuce." Need I say why?