Michelle Obama is having a poetry night. But it's not going to be one of those pansy-ass tea-sipping affairs like Laura Bush used to have, where everyone is forced to read Emily Dickinson. No, the First Lady's poetry night will be hardcore. 

Or, so, at least, some of her detractors are saying. Obama has invited the rapper Common to attend the White House poetry reading, scheduled for tomorrow night. Critics have pointed out that, in the past, Common has penned lyrics about shooting police officers and made at least one reference to "burning" then-President George Bush. 

Website The Daily Caller has laid one of Common's raps next to an Emily Dickinson poem, in the hopes that we'll see how egregious a mistake Michelle has made. The unintended effect of which, of course, was to make me realize how boring Emily Dickinson is. In seriousness, however, anyone even remotely familiar with Common's work will know that he doesn't rap about bling and murder-for-fun. In fact, he criticizes it, while rapping about stuff like civil liberties and Mumia Abu-Jamal. 

There will be workshops for children in the afternoon, followed by performances in the night. Common will be joined by Rita Dove and Billy Collins. Michelle Obama was too busy doing one-armed pushups with her daughters on the White House lawn to be reached for comment. 

Commentarium (10 Comments)

May 10 11 - 11:48pm
Appears To Be

He's actually probably the LEAST controversial rapper

May 11 11 - 1:08am

Fuck yes! As a slam poet I support this whole heartedly, and wish for the First Lady to adopt performance poetry as a cause she supports for her husbands next term as president. Too many people think poetry is a flowery activity left best for 14 y/o girls and hipsters, and while not untrue, many people pen and perform their work covering a diverse range of topics.

Now excuse me while I go do chinups with my beard and have Henry Rollins tell me how worthless I am for driving a car and not walking on my knees to the local co-op.

May 11 11 - 8:27am

"Next term as president". LOL.

May 11 11 - 9:35am

She should have invited Immortal Technique. That would have gone over much better.

May 16 11 - 2:19pm

Good God. Fox News would've orgasmed.

May 11 11 - 10:54am
Pekoe Jane

Common is so mainstream at this point it is silly to label him "controversial". In fact, I had to reread the headline because of that. This is a great idea and an interesting way to get young people interested in an art form that is very under appreciated.

May 11 11 - 11:33am
a poem

I can clear a beach or swimming pool without touching water./ I can make a lunch counter become deserted in less than an hour./ I can make property value drop by being seen in a realtor's tower..../
I have Power, BLACK POWER. -- Don L. Lee, "Stereo" (1967)

May 11 11 - 11:49am
American worker foo

I can go to work like a foo,pay 45% of my wages to you. Leave me alone so you can stu .I am just a foo ,foo.

May 11 11 - 1:15pm

Am I the only one excited about Jill Scott and Aimee Mann being there? I hope Mann closes with "Voices Carry."

May 11 11 - 3:11pm

Eh, Common is kinda hit or miss though. His rhymes are often a little lazy and nonsensical, and not in a good way. Like in a just filling space way. But when he's on, he's great.