Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Richard Blanco: A snapshot of generosity

Richard Blanco supporting
the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize Initiative

One of the pleasures of my "day job" is forging meaningful relationships. I was a long time admirer of Richard Blanco's work before I had the pleasure of meeting him, which would have been at an AWP conference several years ago. Since that first meeting our paths have crossed a number of times, including in San Antonio at the Macondo Writers' Workshop, where he has taught.

He's read at PALABRA PURA in Chicago; and he's read at Notre Dame, where I had a chance to interact with him extensively. It was also fun spending time with him in Seattle back in the Fall of 2008 when he read at Richard Hugo House for The Wind Shifts Tour.

Richard is the author of two award-winning poetry collections, and has a third book forthcoming next year from University of Pittsburgh Press. Here is his website.  

One of my favorite poems by him is "Somewhere to Paris." Here is what I said, by way of introduction, at the Poetry Foundation website, where I introduced a few poems from The Wind Shifts:

While riding on a train somewhere between Italy and France, Blanco revels in his between-ness, coming to identify with “the arc of space / I travel through” in the same way that one strand of his work dwells on what it means to be both Cuban and American. In this particular poem, the act of writing helps the speaker (and us) more fully inhabit this middle space. The “clack” of “every stitch of track” and the other internal and slant rhymes are hypnotic, creating an elemental experience: “If I don’t know / where I am, then I am only these heartbeats, / my breaths.”

Read "Somewhere to Paris" HERE.


And so it's especially gratifying to be able to say that Richard Blanco has displayed exquisite generosity by agreeing to support the Andrés Monoya Poetry Prize Initiative, as the photo above testifies.

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