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How to Love a Country: Poems

by Richard Blanco

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6614314,541 (4.45)32
"The diverse poems in this collection form a mosaic of seemingly varied topics: the Pulse Nightclub massacre; an unexpected encounter on a visit to Cuba; the forced exile of 8,500 Navajos in 1868; the arrival of a young Chinese woman at Angel Island in 1938; the incarceration of a gifted writer; and the poet's abiding love for his partner, who he is finally allowed to wed. But despite each poem's unique subject matter or occasion, all are fundamentally asking one overwhelming question: how to love this country? Seeking answers, Blanco digs deep into the very marrow of our nation--our cities and towns--with poems that interrogate our past and present, grieve our injustices and note our flaws, yet remember to celebrate our ideals and cling to our hopes. Blanco unravels the very fabric of the American narrative, pursuing a resolution to the inherent contradiction of our nation's psyche and mandate: e pluribus unum (out of many, one), charged with the utopian idea that no single narrative is more important than another, and that America could and ought someday to be a county where all narratives converge into one. A country in which we can all truly thrive and truly love"--… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This morning I finished two books, both LibraryThing EarlyReviewer selections. John Pavlovitz's A Bigger Table and Richard Blanco's How to Love a Country both speak to the fractured nature of US society these days, and both seek to find ways to bring our society back together, to heal the wounds. Pavlovitz is a pastor in an urban, North Carolina church. As such, he speaks to church people and uses traditional Christian language. Blanco is a poet, the son of Cuban emigrés, gay, and a university professor and lecturer. He was the fifth person chosen to read at a presidential inauguration--Obama's second. The poems collected in How to Love a Country are both personal and powerful. Blanco writes to a country and people that have witnessed the Boston Marathon bombing, the Pulse Nightclub massacre, the anger of Ferguson, Missouri. And he speaks of his own life--coming to the realization that who he is and whom he loves will most likely alienate him from his family, his friends, his society. These poems are not easy to read, but they are crucial if we are to understand each other and build a society that offers full acceptance to the "other." Highly recommended. ( )
  mtbearded1 | Nov 26, 2020 |
This was an emotional roller coaster - well, mostly the trough before the crest. Blanco speaks for so many voices in this slim volume, and he does it beautifully. There was some prose poetry in here, which I'm not the biggest fan of, but there were others with lyrical refrains that flowed really well. read my full review here. ( )
  littlebookjockey | Sep 15, 2020 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A book of poems that really showed that poems can be honest and beautiful at the same time. They showed that no matter what happens good or bad that we can have a bright happy future, even with all the problems today.
A good book for people who believe that poems have to be love and peace. Poems are also great for telling a story of today and open the eyes of people. I would definitely tell people to at least try it.....

This review was written for LibraryThing. ( )
  Hillgirl | Jul 1, 2020 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In this collection of poems that are as powerful as they are timely, Blanco's work manages to marry hope for a better future with critiques of the present. Some of these poems come like a steel-toed kick to the gut, even as lyricism gives way to clever--and sometimes painful--truth, while others are quieter, but no less powerful for that apparent peace.

This is a timely collection that is worth reading, teaching, and sharing, and it's one I'll come back to. Absolutely recommended. ( )
  whitewavedarling | May 5, 2020 |
I've returned to this very timely poetry collection again and again over the past few months. I'll write a more complete review later. ( )
  Empty-Mirror | Sep 27, 2019 |
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"The diverse poems in this collection form a mosaic of seemingly varied topics: the Pulse Nightclub massacre; an unexpected encounter on a visit to Cuba; the forced exile of 8,500 Navajos in 1868; the arrival of a young Chinese woman at Angel Island in 1938; the incarceration of a gifted writer; and the poet's abiding love for his partner, who he is finally allowed to wed. But despite each poem's unique subject matter or occasion, all are fundamentally asking one overwhelming question: how to love this country? Seeking answers, Blanco digs deep into the very marrow of our nation--our cities and towns--with poems that interrogate our past and present, grieve our injustices and note our flaws, yet remember to celebrate our ideals and cling to our hopes. Blanco unravels the very fabric of the American narrative, pursuing a resolution to the inherent contradiction of our nation's psyche and mandate: e pluribus unum (out of many, one), charged with the utopian idea that no single narrative is more important than another, and that America could and ought someday to be a county where all narratives converge into one. A country in which we can all truly thrive and truly love"--

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