Bright Sunlight And Dark Shadows Populate Poems About Summer


In the latest edition of “Village Voice,” Boston Public Radio’s recurring conversation about poetry and how it can help us to make sense of the news of the day, poet Richard Blanco shares his favorite poems about summer and the Fourth of July.

Blanco newest book, “How To Love A Country,” deals with various social and political issues that shadow America.

Blanco opened the segment with poet Ada Limón’s piece, “A New National Anthem,” a poem that illustrates the tensions simmering beneath the patriotic rituals of Independence Day, like singing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“Are we really celebrating the birth of our culture, are we really thinking about our ideals? Are we even thinking about, underneath all the picnics and beer-drinking and fireworks going off, are we thinking about anything deeper than that?” he said. “I think that’s what she’s trying to bring about in this poem: both on collective level but also on a personal level.”

“I think there’s a hint here of the troubles that we’re facing as a democracy right now, and this ‘unsung third stanza’ that becomes a figurative piece of what we’re not saying to each other and what we’re not singing about,” Blanco added.

This episode of “Village Voice” aired on WGBH Boston Public Radio on July 8, 2019.