Two talented artists earned glory for themselves, and for the gay community, this week. Richard Blanco, who is openly gay, is an established poet known for his observations of America as seen through the eyes of a Latino immigrant. Richard was chosen to read an original work at President Obama’s 2013 Presidential Inauguration. Less high profile, but equally impressive, Noah St. John, a 15-year-old high school student, won this year’s Performer of the Year Award from National Public Radio’s Snap Judgment Series, for his touching story about his two mothers.
If you are not familiar with the program, Snap Judgment is about storytelling. Host Glynn Washington invites listeners to tell their own dramatic stories about moments that have changed their lives. Noah St. John answered that challenge with an amazing tale of a drive he took with his lesbian mothers entitled, The Last Mile. Emotional roller coaster? Agony to ecstasy? I have no words to do it justice, so I will post it below so you can see it for yourself.
Quite different in style, but no less impressive, openly gay poet Richard Blanco will be the fifth poet invited to read an original work at a presidential inauguration. Born in Madrid, Spain to exiled Cubans who later emigrated to Miami, Richard is now a naturalized citizen, living with his partner in Maine.
Richard learned he had been chosen as Inaugural Poet when his publisher wondered why Barnes and Noble had placed a larger than expected order for his latest book, Looking for the Gulf Motel. He told NPR, “I think I started writing it right there in my head. Images just started coming to me.”
We will have to wait for the January 21 inauguration to hear the final product, but you may be interested in Richard Blanco’s reading of his poem, Queer Theory, about his grandmother’s view of being gay, from an event held in New York City’s Brynat Park, last summer.
Proud gay poet Richard Blanco, and young poet Noah St.John, proud of his lesbian mothers, have both used their considerable talents to bring acclaim to the gay community, and a more perfect understanding of gay life to the straight world. We look forward to seeing what their futures will bring, and more importantly, the wonderful words they will bring to us in the future.
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