Homeland of My Body: New and Selected Poems
A rich, accomplished, intensely intimate collection with 2 full sections of new poems bookending Blanco’s selections from his 5 previous volumes
“An engineer, poet, Cuban American . . . his poetry bridges cultures and languages—a mosaic of our past, our present, and our future—reflecting a nation that is hectic, colorful, and still becoming.”—President Joe Biden, conferring the National Humanities Medal on Richard Blanco, 2023
“What a gift, this new gathering of poems from the singular Richard Blanco. A cause for rejoicing!”—Krista Tippett, author of Being Wise and host of On Being
“Blanco’s poems are journeys to a homeland within the heart, a welcome homecoming earned from a lifetime’s wise voyaging.”—Sandra Cisneros
“A triumphant anthem to a rich life in all its ages and awakenings.”—Naomi Shihab Nye
In this collection of over 100 poems, Richard Blanco has carefully selected poems from his previous books that represent his evolution as a writer grappling with his identity, working to find and define “home,” and bookended them with new poems that address those issues from a fresh, more mature perspective, allowing him to approach surrendering the pain and urgency of his past explorations. Pausing at this pivotal moment in mid-career, Blanco reexamines his life-long quest to find his proverbial home and all that it encompasses: love, family, identity and ultimately art itself. In the closing section of the volume, he has come to understand and internalize the idea that “home” is not one place, not one thing, and lives both inside him and inside his art.
The poems range in form, voice, and setting, showcasing his command of craft, but in essence they are one continuous reflection on the existential question at the core of all of Blanco’s poetry: how can we find our place in the world. All are characterized by his keen eye, deep sensibility, and polished craft, without pretense. This volume is a gift to Blanco’s many readers but even more to those who have yet to discover that they can understand, and fall in love with poetry, that a poet can speak to them about his own and their own lives so profoundly, and that this poet, as Barack Obama discovered, can speak for all of us.
Richard Blanco has been justly celebrated for his poetic gifts and his command of the many forms poetry can take, from the finely structured to the prose poem formats. His previous volumes have been praised by Patricia Smith, Eileen Myles, Sandra Cisneros, Elizabeth Alexander, and many others. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and dozens of other publications.
Praise for Homeland of My Body: New and Selected Poems
“Tender and introspective. . . . An exceptional mid-career snapshot of a trailblazing poet’s remarkable journey.”
“Accessible and sincere, Blanco’s poems may sometimes play tag with unmasked sentiment, but they are equally capable of sharp commentary and a keen engagement with contemporary American life.”
“What a gift, this new gathering of poems from the singular Richard Blanco. A cause for rejoicing!”
—Krista Tippett, author of Being Wise and host of On Being
“Blanco’s poems are journeys to a homeland within the heart, a welcome homecoming earned from a lifetime’s wise voyaging.”
“Richard Blanco’s Homeland of My Body is a triumphant anthem to a rich life in all its ages and awakenings. ‘What should I do? / Every thing.’ These stunning new poems, astonishing in their generosity, cradle so many long-loved ones, that a full, new world is created—not broken into parts at all, but wholly realized, and utterly moving.”
—Naomi Shihab Nye
“A masterful poet who is clear-eyed and full of heart, Blanco explores the country’s haunted past while offering a bright hope for the future.”
“What I love about Blanco’s work is the lustiness of the poems; they have bodies, there’s such sensuality to the language, such flexibility to the line; and they display such delight in form, an unapologetic love for the world. He has become a poet who sings for all of us with the inclusivity and passion of a Whitman and the particularity and absorption in the quotidian of a William Carlos Williams, the street smarts of a Langston Hughes, the oratorical grandness of an MLK.”
“There is a uniting oneness to these passionate and remarkable poems, each finely wrought line a bridge from one heart to another, a love song of this burdened earth and all its flawed inhabitants. Richard Blanco is this century’s Walt Whitman.”
—Andre Dubus III
“Richard Blanco writes about the elusive poundingness of love.”
“In these times of hate, we need poets who speak of love.”