Jim Fisher gages poet Elizabeth Alexander's inauguration challenge:

There's no starker demonstration of our culture's separation of poetry and state than the fact that our nation's poet laureate, a consultant post to the Library of Congress filled on an annual basis since 1937, is not expected to produce verse for government events. It's easy to see why: What poet today would allow his or her voice to be yoked to the policy of a presidential administration, even one as popular as Obama's? At what point would the poetry become propaganda?