Poet Richard Blanco Grapples With ‘The Hidden Racism In America’


In the latest installment of “Village Voice,” Blanco examined one of his own poems from the book “Boundaries,” titled “Easy Lynching On Herndon Avenue.” He was inspired to write it after seeing a present-day photo taken of Herndon Avenue in Mobile, Alabama, the site of the last recorded lynching in the United States in 1981. (The street was later renamed after the man who was murdered, Michael Donald.)

Blanco was shocked at the street’s quiet, ordinary appearance — “as if nothing happened here,” he wrote in an email. It made him think about, as he writes, “the hidden racism in America.”

“The focus is on this as a figurative way to discuss how racism in America is at times swept under the rug, invisible,” he wrote.

This episode aired on January 16, 2018 on WGBH Boston Public Radio.