Obama in Asheville: An inaugural poem by James Franco

Asheville’s most famous writing student, actor James Franco, was commissioned by Yahoo! News to write a poem about the inauguration of President Barack Obama, taking place today, Jan. 21, in Washington D.C.

His poem includes ruminations on the history of Asheville and its most well known visitors, including Obama, as well as his thoughts on what it would be like to act in a movie about the president.

The Yahoo post includes a video of Franco somberly reading the poem as he wears a Warren Wilson College t-shirt. He’s currently in the process of earning his Masters of Fine Arts degree in writing at the local school.

Here’s the first stanza of the poem. To read the entire piece and watch the video, click here for Yahoo! News.

Obama in Asheville

Asheville, North Carolina, is the birthplace of Thomas
Wolfe and the sometime residence of F. Scott Fitzgerald
When he visited Zelda at her institution;
He stayed at the Grove Park Inn, a grand stone edifice.

On the phone once, Cormac McCarthy lamented
The two added wings and the spa, and marveled
At the original structure, They pulled the stones
From the mountains and brought them down on mules.

Soon after his fortieth birthday, Fitzgerald attempted suicide
Here, but couldn’t shoot his own head, drunk, I guess.
Later, after he was actually dead, from alcohol,
Zelda perished in a fire at her institution, one of nine.


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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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3 thoughts on “Obama in Asheville: An inaugural poem by James Franco

  1. Poetry Lover

    Nice of James Franco to give Asheville so much air time. Alas, as a poet, he is no Richard Blanco.

  2. Ed Myers

    Love you, James…in the movies.

    I can’t criticize you as a poet, as that would imply you are one.

    No offense for blaming a horse for not being able to talk.

    I’d like to see something he wrote that he considers poetry, or creative writing of any kind, as this is simply stream of conscious, after consciousness has fled.

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