Poetry Friday: “One Today”

For many bloggers, Friday is for poetry. I was so pleased this week to attend a reading by poet Richard Blanco. In his presentation, the poet, civil engineer, and city planner spoke about the importance of place addressing the questions:  Where am I from? Where do I belong? Who am I in this world? Not only were the well-crafted essays and poems  a joy to experience, but I was also able to meet the lovely Mr. Blanco. Even though I was at the very end of a very long signing line, he still took the time to address each of us personally and with intention.

I first heard Mr. Blanco read in Portland’s Merrill Auditorium soon after President Obama’s inauguration in January of 2013. I couldn’t believe an auditorium that seats 1900 was filled—for poetry! When he read “One Today” for us, I had an overwhelming feeling of joy that real change was on the horizon—that we were moving forward.

In Falmouth this week, I had a decidedly different feeling. How was it that in five short years we’d gone from a nation celebrating “all of us” to…this?

There is no poetry in the presidency now. There are no books, no decorum, no diplomacy. There are only bits and pieces of anger and outrage, racism and division. There are short memories and shorter-term fixes.

Every day brings a new scandal that causes us to forget and diminish the scandal that came moments before. And all of these scandals are screens to the real changes in our country and government: lifetime appointments of ultra-conservative judges, a new “Conscious and Religious Freedom” division in the U.S. Department Health and Human Services whose purpose is to deny abortions and transition surgeries to transgendered individuals if a health provider has a religious issue with the medical procedure, free speech and freedom of the press is constantly under attack, and Dreamers and children without healthcare are used as pawns in a political game of will-we-or-won’t-we-shut-down-the-government.

Tomorrow, I will be out in the January cold to march for the home about which Mr. Blanco writes in the final stanza of his poem. Join me and vote in 2018 for the home you imagine.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together.

-Richard Blanco


You can check-out the picture book One Today at your local library or purchase/order it at your local independent bookstore.



Training event #1. Listen to Inaugural Poet, Richard Blanco read his poetry.

On Monday I found out that I’d be an authlete in the Think Kid Think March Madness Poetry Tournament. I announced that I’d be posting about my training for said tournament. See original post. 

Training event #1. Listen to an amazing poet read his work.

Tuesday evening I attended the reading of Richard Blanco, Inaugural Poet extraordinaire. Mr. Blanco read at Merrill Theater in Portland, Maine in front of a huge audience. I’d say a packed house but there were a few seats left in the upper balconies. Check it out.


Mr. Blanco’s poetry was accessible, musical, and evocative. His reading techinque allowed me to close my eyes and imagine the words on the page, the line breaks, and how they enhanced the meaning and emotion of the poem. So, yes, I am a poetry nerd but more important, there was a whole room, nay, an auditorium full of poetry nerds, and artists, and other writers, and lovers of the same. One incredible, and incredibly wonderful community all gathered together to say, “Poetry is important to us. We value you, Richard Blanco, and the work you do.”

At the end of my evening, as I walked to my car, I happen to run into the poet himself. I introduced myself and complimented him on the reading. He was warm, and encouraging, and meeting him made a great night even better.  Training was never so joyful as it was tonight.

Watch Richard Blanco read the 2013 Inaugural Poem: One Today