In the latest edition of "Village Voice," Boston Public Radio's recurring conversation about poetry and how it can help us to make sense of the news of the day, Jim Braude and Margery Eagan celebrated Pride Month with poet Richard Blanco.
Richard Blanco is the fifth presidential inaugural poet in U.S. history. His new book, "How To Love A Country," deals with various sociopolitical issues that shadow America.
Blanco shared two of his own poems about growing up gay. In one, "Queer Theory: According To My Grandmother," Blanco chronicles the way his grandmother policed any behavior she deemed "too feminine" when he was a child.
"I learned a lot from her, I got a lot of support from her, but when it came to this dimension of sexuality, it was something she didn't understand," he said.
Blanco said it was this fraught and often painful relationship that shaped his identity as a writer.
"Relationships are complex, but I wouldn't be a writer, I think, if it wasn't for my grandmother, in an odd way," he said. "This constant surveillance that's in the poem, it made me withdraw and I became an observer of the world. That's what writers do."
Follow along with the poems discussed, in order: