The zeitgeist of Monday had been festive and patriotic in my corner of the world, and in keeping with this flavor, I have to mention what I yelled at my brother while watching the Inauguration yesterday morning. I had the phone pressed to my ear, “mmm-ing” at the appropriate times in the conversation when Senator Chuck Schumer announced that Richard Blanco, the inaugural poet would be reading “words he wrote for this occasion.”
Naturally, my response was, “See! Poets are important!”
My statement struck me later as I absorbed the gravity of that truth. This profession, this sometimes hobby, this noble talent of writing–especially of writing poetry–carries with it such history and depth, beyond mere tradition and conventionality, that it inspires reverence. Poets are important, and though our reward is hard to measure, the weight of this moment in American history today made me proud to call myself a poet.
Richard Blanco described the writing process for his piece “One Today” in this interview, and his commitment to stay true to his voice. Each of us has a responsibility to ourselves and our readers to be exactly who we are and express ourselves in our own way. I am encouraged, and I hope you are too.
Whatever you claim as your art–be it poetry, prose, cosmetology, sculpting, speaking, photography, singing, or dance–no one does it like you.