Richard-Blanco.jpg

One Day

I don’t know anything about the work of Richard Blanco, other than he is now the World’s most famous Gay Poet. OK, well after Auden. And Whitman. And Byron. And Sappho. And Maya Angelou. Hmm. Well anyway he’s certainly one of  Vermont’s most famous gay poets… I think.

Anyway, his inaugural poem One Day was amusingly trashed by Sarah Ruden in The Corner. And it w…

  1. Crow

    I dissent slightly.

    I don’t think the poem was abysmally bad, but I don’t think it was any good, either. Mediocre, pedestrian, somewhat self-indulgent (it seemed quite long as he was reading it), and sentimentalist. Not horrible, just meh. I think your average student in a college level creative writing class could produce something of basically equal overall quality.

    There are some nice turns of the phrase here and there, some nice images–actually, now that I think about it, that’s almost the perfect word for it. As Mel Brooks has one of his characters say in History of the World Pt 1: “Nice, nice–not thrilling, but nice.”

    So, Sarah Ruden’s take is a bit too sneering for my taste, especially because she isn’t known as a great poet herself, but I’m hardly running out to buy Blanco’s latest volume.

    (I’m also no fan of Kelly Clarkson, nor of lip-synced National Anthems even if they are sung by attractive female pop stars.)

    I suppose that what I long for is culture, in the non-snobbish but robust sense described in this excellent Anthony Esolen piece.

  2. Misthiocracy

    There once was a poet from Vermont,…

  3. Merina Smith

    Stop!  I’m being smothered by togetherness!

  4. dash

    I couldn’t care less about his sexual proclivity, but as a poet… I’ve read prose more poetic than this. In science fiction, even. 

  5. Ryan M

    … can we all agree on that?  I’m not sure that I would describe anything in the event as “dignified,” and I am, now more than ever, incredibly happy that I did not watch the event.

  6. Scott R

    Your opening paragraph is the cleverest bit of writing here, poem included — but leaving that aside, the poem is fine, pretty good even. He made it accessible, which was nice of him and which is more than we can say for most poets, or “poets”.

    It’s fun and easy to mock, much harder to create.

  7. Trace
    Scott Reusser: Your opening paragraph is the cleverest bit of writing here, poem included — but leaving that aside, the poem is fine, pretty good even. He made it accessible, which was nice of him and which is more than we can say for most poets, or “poets”.

    It’s fun and easy to mock, much harder to create. · 0 minutes ago

    Aww now I feel bad. Basically I agree with you. But I still had fun poking at it.

  8. Nanda Panjandrum

    Trace: You and Sarah R. had it right “icky children’s book” material, indeed…About right for most of those assembled, I’d say….

  9. Scott R
    Trace

    Scott Reusser: Your opening paragraph is the cleverest bit of writing here, poem included — but leaving that aside, the poem is fine, pretty good even. He made it accessible, which was nice of him and which is more than we can say for most poets, or “poets”.

    It’s fun and easy to mock, much harder to create. · 0 minutes ago

    Aww now I feel bad. Basically I agree with you. But I still had fun poking at it. · 52 minutes ago

    Oh, no need to feel bad — you were fair. Next let’s take apart a Sarah Ruden poem.

  10. Paul Erickson

    On the whole I find the poem unobjectionable. Actually kind of like it.

    A bit ironic to have all this one-ness and together-ness in celebration of perhaps the most divisive political leader of the last 3 generations.

  11. Misthiocracy
    Scott Reusser: 

    It’s fun and easy to mock, much harder to create.

    I’m sure the phat Obama cash eases the burden.

  12. Scott R
    Misthiocracy

    Scott Reusser: 

    It’s fun and easy to mock, much harder to create.

    I’m sure the phat Obama cash eases the burden. · 18 minutes ago

    That line about “reading ledgers” was referring to the work of inaugural poets.

  13. Owl of Minerva

    Only had time to skim, but I like this post a lot. I especially like how you point out his apparently unconscious preference for the city. I had missed that.

    EDIT: I just want to mention that the poem didn’t have to rise to the level of ART, whether understood in conservative terms (timeless expressions of recurring themes and traditions in human life) or progressive terms (timely provocations meant to transgress retrograde boundaries and fight for subjugated classes or peoples). The poem was touching and middle-brow, aiming straight at the middle-aged bus driver who took a sick day to come to the Mall or to the assistant manager at Best Buy checking his phone at lunch. He accomplished that well. And it fit the occasion. The Inauguration is not time to bust out your ode to “Wasteland,” no matter how great the irony….

  14. Trace

    Excellent observation: Middle-brow and that’s appropriate.

    Owl of Minerva: 

     The poem was touching and middle-brow, aiming straight at the middle-aged bus driver who took a sick day to come to the Mall or to the assistant manager at Best Buy checking his phone at lunch. He accomplished that well. And it fit the occasion. The Inauguration is not time to bust out your ode to “Wasteland,” no matter how great the irony…. · 12 minutes ago

    Edited 8 minutes ago

  15. EJHill

    One sun rose on us today.

    One People.

    One Nation.

    One Leader.

    One singular sensation.

    Every Little Move He Makes.

    (Inspired by the authoritarian Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer plus a little Broadway thrown in because the Nazis weren’t gay enough.)

  16. Joan of Ark La Tex

    It reads like a bowl of overly tossed garden salad at best. Nothing spectacular, it won’t kill anyone I suppose. 

  17. Leslie Watkins

    For me, his poetry is more bits of prose strung together without being particularly poetic. The language itself is mundane without evoking anything deep or lasting, which is what I want from poetry. Otherwise, I prefer a profile in People magazine. I loathe identity poetry even more than I loathe identity politics. At least Kelly Clarkson competes in a more talented realm.

  18. Leslie Watkins

    Since when should poetry be appropriate?

    Trace: Excellent observation: Middle-brow and that’s appropriate.

    Owl of Minerva: 

     The poem was touching and middle-brow, aiming straight at the middle-aged bus driver who took a sick day to come to the Mall or to the assistant manager at Best Buy checking his phone at lunch. He accomplished that well. And it fit the occasion. The Inauguration is not time to bust out your ode to “Wasteland,” no matter how great the irony…. · 12 minutes ago

    Edited 8 minutes ago

    3 minutes ago

  19. Gus Marvinson

    “‘Gorgeous din?’ He’s definitely gay.” That made me howl.

  20. KC Mulville

    (Note: The following is merely a note about silly rhetoric, not about the real tragedy of Sandy Hook …)

    the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain the empty desks of twenty children marked absent today, and forever.

    So someone is still marking them absent? I think we can skip the idea that bureaucratic paperwork is a way to express something meaningful about the tragedy.

    This, on a day after we remember 55 million (about one sixth of our current population) who’ve simply been removed from life.

Want to comment on stories like these? Become a member today!

You'll have access to:

  • All Ricochet articles, posts and podcasts.
  • The conversation amongst our members.
  • The opportunity share your Ricochet experiences.

Join Today!

Already a Member? Sign In