Thursday, July 06, 2006
POETS IN SPACE: An Open Letter to NASA
Since the inception of the space program, you've sent a variety of scientifically-inclined persons to outer space: aeronautical engineers, chemists, biologists, biochemists, aerospace engineers, ecologists, electronic engineers, geologists, meteorologists, physicians, computer engineers, physicists, geneticists and many, many more. I say ENOUGH is ENOUGH (and simultaneously shake my fist at you)! Have these scientifically-inclined persons REALLY taught us anything new from their trips to outer space (for the sake of argument, the answer we're looking for here is NO)?
I suspect a large segment of the population agrees that it is high time we send up someone who can give us a fresh perspective on and, perhaps, capture the true essence of outer space: naturally, said someone should probably be a poet (God knows, those shuttles could use some good ol' English Department drama out there in space. Gosh, who DOESN'T miss the English Department?). Anyway, I say we suit up either Maya Angelou or Ted Kooser for the job. Had he still been alive, Walt Whitman would have naturally been our first choice (read "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer") but Angelou or Kooser will have to do--the former because she's so well known and the latter because he probably has a lot of time on his hands now that his term as US Poet Laureate is up.
I look forward to hearing back from you and discussing in further details the possibility of sending poets on future space missions.
Thanks and best,
ps: Our "Poets in Space" program can pave the way for other artsy-fartsy types to travel to space. The possibilities are endless:
Novelists in Space
Muralists in Space
Interpretive Dancers in Space
Screenwriters in Space
Rappers in Space
Mimes in Space
Yanni in Space
Comedians in Space
Rhythmic Gymnasts in Space
Synchronized Swimmers and/or Skaters in Space
Canine Musical Freestylists in Space
etc, etc, etc