Matters of the Sea / Cosas del mar is a commemorative bilingual chapbook that beautifully reproduces Richard Blanco’s stirring poem presented during the historic reopening ceremony of the United States Embassy in Havana, Cuba on August 14, 2015.
“Matters of the Sea is one of the most emotionally complex and personal poems I’ve ever written, invested with all my love for the people of two countries that are part of my very being. As with the presidential inauguration in 2013, I am once again humbled and honored to participate as a poet in another historic moment of such significance. I’m elated by the power of poetry to mark such important, communal moments, and be a catalyst for change and understanding by reaching deep into our emotional selves and connecting us to our shared humanity.”
– Richard Blanco
From the Preface by Richard Blanco
…when President Obama announced an initiative to begin normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba, “home” suddenly took on unexpected dimensions. New questions arose as I peered into the future: Was I Cuban enough for a new Cuba? Would I be too Cuban for America? Would the stories of my exile family and community be discounted? Could I be faithful to the people of two countries and cultures I adored? The opportunity to seek answers to those questions came when the U.S. Department of State asked me to write and recite a poem for the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Havana. The poem you now have in your hands, Matters of the Sea / Cosas del mar, is one of the most emotional and personal poems I’ve ever written, for several reasons.