Richard Blanco and using poetry to heal
Poet Richard Blanco talks about how poetry and language influence the reality we live.
The inauguration of Democrats Joe Biden and Barack Obama shared several things. Among them, the representation of the country's diversity, and speeches that vindicated inclusion, integration, and the arts as a 'late motivator.'
At both events, many musicians and artists were part of the ceremony. Following in the footsteps of other Democrats, the presidents invited poets to portray in words the sense of hope that guided everyone into a new era.
Richard Blanco, at 44, became the first Hispanic-born, openly gay inaugural poet to participate in a president's inauguration ceremony on Capitol Hill.
The Spanish-born, Cuban-American poet recited "Un Hoy" ("One Today"), paying tribute to the legacy of immigrants, diversity in the United States, and the country's commitment to community.
"Language is important, we've learned that in these last four years. Poetry really understands that and uses language to make us feel and think about things in a new way," said Blanco.
During the last presidency, we have been spectators to how hate can permeate societies and open the door to violence legitimized by those who use its language.
This is how the poet affirms that the use of language and poetry from the opposite side can help to heal. He proposes to build "bridges of empathy."
When referring to young Amanda Gorman, the young poet who participated in the Investiture of President Joe Biden, the poet highlights honesty with which Gorman addresses the country's problems, and how her poetry 'lifts' the mind and spirit to confront and overcome these problems.
"The Hill We Climb" was a moving acknowledgement of the pain of America's past and the promise of its future. A poem that offered hope, self-criticism and self-forgiveness to the country.