Richard Blanco Says
~ A Poem of Redaction ~
Writing a poem
All our lives,
Central to obsession…
To love a country
As if you’ve lost one;
It is where you choose to die
That is your country.
Human drive to find
The perfect home,
Myths in literature
Of Utopia, the perfect place:
Avalon, Shangri-La, the Promised Land.
Home is a slippery word
Like a cake decoration.
Should be nothing here
I don’t remember.
Only the waves keeping time
To their life in Cuba;
To pretend, to pretend
That nothing I’ve lost
I was home all along,
Ready to read this poem;
That this is our story.
We each add a chapter
Still being written
About our country.
Speak silently to my heart:
Here is your country;
This is your story;
Here your home;
One deep breath,
This is for all of us
Like rainbows begging for praise
For us today.
The doors we open for each
Other all day
Tired from work,
Giving thanks for love
That loves you back,
But couldn’t give you
What you wanted:
Always one moon
Of one country,
Facing the stars of hope,
Of one constellation
Waiting for us, together
To come and sit at the table.
Why can’t we have poets
On billboards in America?
We all think the same thing,
But no one says:
Will mother come to visit us?
But God, listen to this:
I will keep counting
Until I’m somebody
And then I will say,
I forgive you.
I want the poem to be a mirror,
Transforming the personal
Into Art, using the personal
To reach the universal.
Whatever the Art demands
I have to do:
To be grand,
But not grandiose—
Those scars of exile,
Being in exile of exile.
This poem is a redaction from a Reading and Speaking Session Richard Blanco gave at City University of Hong Kong on July 21, 2014.
Richard Blanco ( http://richard-blanco.com/ ) was “made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, imported to the U.S.” He served as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States for President Obama’s second inauguration in 2012, at which he read the poem “One Today.” Blanco was the first Latino, immigrant and gay writer, as well as the youngest, accorded this honor. His books of poetry are Looking for the Gulf Motel (2012), Directions to the Beach of the Dead (2005) and City of a Hundred Fires (1998) which received the prestigious Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize, and which one critic calls “the most exciting first book of the decade – vibrant and diverse, infused with energy and formal dexterity, equally at ease in Spanish and English.” Recent works include Boston Strong (2013), a commemorative chapbook that reproduces his poignant poem presented at the Boston Strong Concert, following the tragic events in April that year at the Boston Marathon. His most recent book is nonfiction, For All of Us, One Today (2013), which describes his journey as the inaugural poet. Blanco holds a MFA from Florida International University, and has taught at Central Connecticut University as well as several other universities. He was named a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow at Maclester College which awarded him an honorary doctorate. Blanco is also an engineer who has designed several town revitalization projects.
The American novelist CG FEWSTON has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy), a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, & he’s a been member of the Hemingway Society, Americans for the Arts, PEN America, Club Med, & the Royal Society of Literature. He’s also a been Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) based in London.
He’s the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Father’s Son (2005), The New America: A Collection (2007), The Mystic’s Smile ~ A Play in 3 Acts (2007), Vanity of Vanities (2011), A Time to Love in Tehran (2015), Little Hometown, America (2020); A Time to Forget in East Berlin (2022), and Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being (2023).
He has a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Fiction. He was born in Texas in 1979.
A TIME TO FORGET IN EAST BERLIN
BREW Book Excellence Award Winner
BREW Readers’ Choice Award Winner
“A spellbinding tale of love and espionage set under the looming shadow of the Berlin Wall in 1975… A mesmerising read full of charged eroticism.”
~ Ian Skewis, Associate Editor for Bloodhound Books, & author of best-selling novel A Murder of Crows (2017)
“An engrossing story of clandestine espionage… a testament to the lifestyle encountered in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War.”
~ Lone Star Literary Life Magazine
“There is no better way for readers interested in Germany’s history and the dilemma and cultures of the two Berlins to absorb this information than in a novel such as this, which captures the microcosm of two individuals’ love, relationship, and options and expands them against the blossoming dilemmas of a nation divided.”
~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“A Time to Forget in East Berlin is a dream-like interlude of love and passion in the paranoid and violent life of a Cold War spy. The meticulous research is evident on every page, and Fewston’s elegant prose, reminiscent of novels from a bygone era, enhances the sensation that this is a book firmly rooted in another time.”
~ Matthew Harffy, prolific writer & best-selling historical fiction author of the “Bernicia Chronicles” series
“Vivid, nuanced, and poetic…”
“Fewston avoids familiar plot elements of espionage fiction, and he is excellent when it comes to emotional precision and form while crafting his varied cast of characters.”
“There’s a lot to absorb in this book of hefty psychological and philosophical observations and insights, but the reader who stays committed will be greatly rewarded.”
“Readers of The Catcher in the Rye and similar stories will relish the astute, critical inspection of life that makes Little Hometown, America a compelling snapshot of contemporary American life and culture.”
“Fewston employs a literary device called a ‘frame narrative’ which may be less familiar to some, but allows for a picture-in-picture result (to use a photographic term). Snapshots of stories appear as parts of other stories, with the introductory story serving as a backdrop for a series of shorter stories that lead readers into each, dovetailing and connecting in intricate ways.”
~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“The American novelist CG FEWSTON tells a satisfying tale, bolstered by psychology and far-ranging philosophy, calling upon Joseph Campbell, J. D. Salinger, the King James Bible, and Othello.”
“In this way, the author lends intellectual heft to a family story, exploring the ‘purity’ of art, the ‘corrupting’ influences of publishing, the solitary artist, and the messy interconnectedness of human relationships.”
~ Lone Star Literary Life Magazine
GOLD Winner in the 2020 Human Relations Indie Book Awards for Contemporary Realistic Fiction
FINALIST in the SOUTHWEST REGIONAL FICTION category of the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence 2020 Awards (NIEA)
“Fewston’s lyrical, nostalgia-steeped story is told from the perspective of a 40-year-old man gazing back on events from his 1980s Texas childhood…. the narrator movingly conveys and interprets the greater meanings behind childhood memories.”
“The novel’s focus on formative childhood moments is familiar… the narrator’s lived experiences come across as wholly personal, deeply felt, and visceral.”
American Novelist CG FEWSTON
This is my good friend, Nicolasa (Nico) Murillo, CRC, who is a professional chef & a wellness mentor. I’ve known her since childhood & I’m honored to share her story with you. In life, we all have ups & downs, some far more extreme than others. Much like in Canada, in America, the legalization of marijuana has become a national movement, which includes safe & legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use & research for all.
“This is a wellness movement,” Nico explains. The wellness movement is focused on three specific areas: information, encouragement, & accountability.
In these stressful & unprecedented times, it makes good sense to promote & encourage the state or condition of being in good physical & mental health.
To learn more you can visit: Americans For Safe Access & Texans for Safe Access, ASA (if you are in Texas).
The mission of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research.
TEXANS FOR SAFE ACCESS ~ share the mission of their national organization, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research, for all Texans.
Stay safe & stay happy. God bless.
Nico Murillo Bio ~ Americans & Texans for Safe Access ~ Medical Cannabis
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