Remembering a Former Macon Poet's Inaugural Day | News
Like Robert Frost and Maya Angelou before him, poet and former Macon resident Miller Williams was asked to craft an inauguration day poem for President Bill Clinton's second term in 1997.
It's pretty select company considering only three Presidents have invited poets to inaugural festivities: John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Here's how Williams' inaugural poem, "Of History And Hope," begins:
We have memorized America,
how it was born and who we have been and where.
In ceremonies and silence we say the words,
telling the stories, singing the old songs.
We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.
An Arkansas native, Williams came to Macon to teach at Wesleyan College where he was a professor of biology. (And apparently, he made a few extra dollars working at Sears selling refrigerators.)
While in Macon, Williams also made friends with one of central Georgia's most famous residents, the writer Flannery O'Connor.
A year after her dad read at Clinton's inauguration, Lucinda took home her second Grammy for "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road," an album named for the title cut which begins by recalling her childhood in Macon:
The elder Williams had some of his work included in "Writing on Napkins at the Sunshine Club," a compilation published by Mercer Press featuring poets with ties to Macon.
His career has also been honored by the University of Arkansas Press with the establishment of the Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize.