Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Richard Blanco's poem for Obama's second inauguration is awful: exploitatively maudlin ("the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won't explain / the empty desks of twenty children marked absent / today, and forever"); ostentatiously humble ("or ring-up groceries as my mother did / for twenty years, so I could write this poem," "hands / as worn as my father's cutting sugarcane / so my brother and I could have books and shoes"); saccharinely multicultural ("saying: hello, shalom, / buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días / . . . spoken into one wind carrying our lives / without prejudice"); and more. Much more. Elizabeth Alexander's poem four years ago was bad; this one's worse.

Later: Mark Steyn refers to Blanco as "that poet from hell."