How To Love a Country

Beacon. Mar. 2019. 112p. ISBN 9780807025918. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9780807025987. POETRY
Generous and deeply felt, the long prose poems in this moving new collection from presidential inaugural poet Blanco (after Looking for the Gulf Motel) help us understand what it means to cross a border. But, more universally, Blanco shows us how the struggle for identity and the need to lay claim to a place in the world can't be separated, especially today. Blanco's talent is such that his struggle to feel at home in America, the country his family chose for him, is manifested on each page—sometimes writ large, as in "LET'S REMAKE AMERICA GREAT": "Let's recast every woman as a housewife, while and polite as Donna Reed always glowing on the kitchen set, again….—no lines about a career or rape, again." Or, more quietly, as in "AMERICAN WANDERSONG": "For my parents' exile from their blood-warm rain of Cuba to Madrid's frozen drizzle pinging rooftops the February afternoon I was born. A tiny brown and winkled blessing counter to such poverty that my first crib was an open drawer cushioned with towels in an apartment shared by four families. Such as my mother told me for years, kindling my imagination still burning to understand that slipping into being when my longing to belong first began."
VERDICT Submit to the fierce pleasure of Blanco's art.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing