In the latest edition of “Village Voice,” Richard Blanco wraps up National Poetry Month with poems by Marianne Moore and Ada Limón and shares insights on his new role as the first-ever Poet Laureate of Miami-Dade County.
Poetry Month was started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, for which Richard is the Educational Ambassador. He hopes to build upon this role with his laureateship, fostering intercultural exchanges among Jamaican, Haitian, and Central American communities. “We all need to share our stories!” He said. He also hopes to bring poetry to underserved communities and schools.
The two poems shared are in conversation, challenging our preconceptions of poetry. As Billy Collins writes in “Introduction to Poetry,” we do not need to tie a poem to a chair and beat it with a hose to find out what it really means.
“…imaginary gardens with real toads in them, [that’s poetry]” — Marianne Moore
He encourages us to visit the Academy of American Poets website for resources on how to delve deeper into poetry and incorporate it into our daily lives.
Read along with the poems listed below and enjoy the conversation!
I too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers that there is in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a
high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are
useful; when they become so derivative as to become unintelligible, the
same thing may be said for all of us—that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand. The bat,
holding on upside down or in quest of something to
eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf under
a tree, the immovable critic twinkling his skin like a horse that feels a flea, the base—
ball fan, the statistician—case after case
could be cited did
one wish it; nor is it valid
to discriminate against “business documents and
school-books”; all these phenomena are important. One must make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry,
nor till the autocrats among us can be
insolence and triviality and can present
for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand, in defiance of their opinion—
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness, and
that which is on the other hand,
genuine, then you are interested in poetry.
The End of Poetry
Enough of osseous and chickadee and sunflower
and snowshoes, maple and seeds, samara and shoot,
enough chiaroscuro, enough of thus and prophecy
and the stoic farmer and faith and our father and tis
of thee, enough of bosom and bud, skin and god
not forgetting and star bodies and frozen birds,
enough of the will to go on and not go on or how
a certain light does a certain thing, enough
of the kneeling and the rising and the looking
inward and the looking up, enough of the gun,
the drama, and the acquaintance’s suicide, the long-lost
letter on the dresser, enough of the longing and
the ego and the obliteration of ego, enough
of the mother and the child and the father and the child
and enough of the pointing to the world, weary
and desperate, enough of the brutal and the border,
enough of can you see me, can you hear me, enough
I am human, enough I am alone and I am desperate,
enough of the animal saving me, enough of the high
water, enough sorrow, enough of the air and its ease,
I am asking you to touch me.
This episode of “Village Voice” first aired on Boston Public Radio on April 27th, 2022.
Image by Aaron Burden on unsplash.com