Poet Richard Blanco Celebrates Pride Month

In the latest edition of “Village Voice,” Jim Braude and Margery Eagan celebrated Pride Month with poet Richard Blanco.

Blanco shared two of his own poems about growing up gay. In one, “Queer Theory: According To My Grandmother,” Blanco chronicles the way his grandmother policed any behavior she deemed “too feminine” when he was a child.

“I learned a lot from her, I got a lot of support from her, but when it came to this dimension of sexuality, it was something she didn’t understand,” he said.

Blanco said it was this fraught and often painful relationship that shaped his identity as a writer. read more…

Announcing The Winners Of BPR’s Acrostic Poem Contest

Earlier this year, poet Richard Blanco issued a challenge to Boston Public Radio listeners: Write an acrostic poem about your town, and share it with us. Many listeners did, capturing snapshots of their neighborhoods — depicting everything from the changing of the seasons to gentrification to climate change.

Blanco, the nation’s fifth inaugural poet and author of the new book “How To Love A Country,” shares CONCORD by Bruce Morgan and the rest of his favorite entries in this episode of The Village Voice. read more…

Village Voice: Richard Blanco On His New Book, ‘How to Love a Country: Poems’

On this episode of Boston Public Radio’s “Village Voice,” Richard Blanco spoke with us about his new book, “How to Love a Country.”

Blanco told BPR that the book is an amalgamation of different ideas and statements that use poetry for civic engagement, autobiographical explorations of identity, and “what it means to be an American.” read more…

Village Voice: Richard Blanco On The Poetry Of Figurative Language

In this edition of the Village Voice, Richard Blanco chose to discuss one of the greatest linguistic techniques used in poetry this week in honor of National Poetry Month, figurative language. Describing the autumn leaves as falling like confetti creates a much stronger image than merely saying the autumn leaves fell, said Blanco.

“[Figurative language] is a very powerful part of language that lets us communicate rather quickly and rather effectively at times,” he said.

Blanco read “A Blessing” by James Wright and “The Tiger” by Pablo Neruda to further emphasize the beauty figurative language can evoke when used creatively in poetry.

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

Call For Poetry: Send BPR Your Acrostic Poems

Spring has sprung, the cherry blossoms are cherry blossoming, and it’s time again for the twice-monthly edition of Village Voice!

We fell so madly in love with your responses to our call for ‘zip-odes’ that we thought we’d open things up again: this time with an acrostic poetry competition. Yes, you were a poet and you didn’t even know it — so here’s another challenge:

Write an acrostic poem about your hometown: the word that is spelled out should be the name of your town, and the poem’s subject should be about your town.

Submit to BPR@WGBH.ORG by Monday, April 29, and put ACROSTIC in the subject line. We’ll read the top submissions on Monday, May 13.

This episode of “Village Voice” aired on WGBH Boston Public Radio on April 1, 2019.

Poet Richard Blanco On The First Ammendment And Freedom Of Speech

The Poetry Coalition, a group of 25 different national poetry organizations dedicated to promoting the value of poetry, launched their third annual program initiative this month called, “What Is It, Then, Between Us?: Poetry & Democracy.”

As part of the month-long program, the Academy of American Poets in New York City chose poets Pádraig Ó Tuama, Richard Blanco, Tom Sleigh, Brenda Hillman, and Solmaz Sharif to curate a series of poems every Saturday in March that explore the many facets of the First Amendment. read more…

How Mary Oliver’s Poetry Helped Us Understand The World

Earlier this month, poet Mary Oliver — who won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and was for many years based in Provincetown, Mass., — died at the age of 83.

In Oliver’s poetry, communion with nature was often a catalyst for learning powerful truths or finding meaning in life, Blanco explained. read more…

A Poetic Look At Martin Luther King, Jr. And His Legacy

Ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, poet Richard Blanco shared some of his favorite works engaging with Dr. King’s life and legacy.

Blanco read his poem “St. Louis: Prayer Before Dawn,” which discusses the social, political and economic disparities between two St. Louis neighborhoods, one predominantly white, and one predominantly black.

The poem includes references to prayers and Biblical passages, such as the Peace Prayer of St. Francis and Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which Blanco said are a nod to King’s role as a pastor and activist. read more…

Poet Richard Blanco Helps Us Slow Down And Reflect During The Busy Holiday Season

There’s more to holiday poetry than just “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” says poet Richard Blanco.

For that reason, in the latest edition of his regular poetry segment on Boston Public Radio, Blanco chose a few of his favorite holiday poems, but “not the ‘Christmas sweater’ version of poetry — something to make us reflect,” he said. read more…