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A timely and moving collection from the renowned inaugural poet on issues facing our country and people—immigration, gun violence, racism, LGBTQ issues, and more.
Through an oracular yet intimate and accessible voice, Richard Blanco addresses the complexities and contradictions of our nationhood and the unresolved sociopolitical matters that affect us all. Blanco digs deep into the very marrow of our nation through poems that interrogate our past and present, grieve our injustices, and note our flaws, but also remember to celebrate our ideals and cling to our hopes. Charged with the utopian idea that no single narrative is more important than another, this book asserts that America could and ought someday to be a country where all narratives converge into one, a country we can all be proud to love and where we can all truly thrive.
The poems form a mosaic of seemingly varied topics: the Pulse nightclub massacre; an unexpected encounter on a visit to Cuba; the forced exile of 8,500 Navajos in 1868; a lynching in Alabama; the arrival of a young Chinese woman at Angel Island in 1938; the incarceration of a gifted writer; and the poet’s abiding love for his partner, who he is finally allowed to wed as a gay man. But despite each poem’s unique concern or occasion, all are fundamentally struggling with the overwhelming question of how to love this country.
Selected by Barack Obama as the fifth Presidential Inaugural Poet in US history, Richard Blanco is the award-winning author of two memoirs and four poetry collections. His body of work and advocacy are characterized by his personal negotiation of cultural identity and universal themes of place and belonging. He currently serves as the first-ever Education Ambassador for the Academy of American Poets and is a member of the Obama Foundation’s advisory council. Connect with him online: richard-blanco.com, Twitter (@rblancopoet), Facebook (RichardBlancoPoetry), and Instagram (poetrichardblanco).