Obama is literary.
He writes his own books and they are good–I just started reading The Audacity of Hope this week. And even though I make most of my living as a ghost-writer, I applaud the man for writing it himself. Honestly? I do a great job of getting people's voices on the page, just as an actor inhabits his role, but there still is no substitute for the voice of the writer himself. Okay, I can think of instances where this is not true, but in Obama's case it is.
Obama actually reads. An AP story tells of the time he phoned Nobel laureate Toni Morrison to ask for her support, but first he told her how he admired her work and how much it had meant to him. The story goes on to talk about Morrison's admiration for Obama's writing. To quote, "Writers welcome Obama as a peer, a thinker, a man of words — his own words." The article also quotes Pulitzer Prize winning author Jane Smiley and novelist Ayelet Waldman.
My buddy Roy just sent me a snippet from Poets and Writers, headlined, "Will a poet read at Obama's inauguration?" In 1961, Robert Frost read at John F. Kennedy's inauguration; James Dickey read at Carter's in 1977, and Bill Clinton, of course, featured Maya Angelou. So who, if anyone, will Obama choose? According to Poets and Writers, poet laureate Kay Ryan has the inside track.