This upcoming fall semester, presidential inaugural poet and FIU Creative Writing MFA alumnus, Richard Blanco will teach a literature course titled “Poetry, News and Media.”
Blanco immigrated to the U.S. as an infant with his Cuban-exile family. An engineer by training, in his mid-20s, he was compelled to express his creative side through writing, prompted by questions of cultural identity and his personal history. Former President Barack Obama selected Blanco to serve as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, joining the ranks of such luminary poets as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. Blanco’s poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, including the Best American Poetry series, the Nation, the New Republic, the Huffington Post and Condé Nast Traveler.
As William Carlos Williams wrote: “It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” The spike in poetry in the politically-charged times is but one example of how poetry has historically served to voice protest and discontent, as well as ripple with truths that foster change, healing and hope. People turn to the oracular nature of poetry as the “village voice” during times of turmoil and tragedy, as well as celebration and triumph. But why? With this question in mind, students will survey a wide range of contemporary poets concerned with socio-political matters such as immigration, cultural identity, gender, sexuality, race, class, war and ecology. Students will discuss how poetry informs and portrays these issues grounded in real lives, as compared to everyday news, TV shows, advertising, social media and current pop culture images and music. What’s more, students will learn some basic creative writing techniques and write their own poems to experience first-hand how the creative mind grapples with and unravels these complex issues.
The course will be held on Thursdays from 5:00 – 7:40 PM on FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus.