Showing posts with label Maya Angelou. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maya Angelou. Show all posts

Friday, September 26, 2014

#FridayReads: The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood by Richard Blanco

A poignant, hilarious, and inspiring memoir from the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet, which explores his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities.

Richard Blanco’s childhood and adolescence were experienced between two imaginary worlds: his parents’ nostalgic world of 1950s Cuba and his imagined America, the country he saw on reruns of The Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver—an “exotic” life he yearned for as much as he yearned to see “la patria.”

Navigating these worlds eventually led Blanco to question his cultural identity through words; in turn, his vision as a writer—as an artist—prompted the courage to accept himself as a gay man. In this moving, contemplative memoir, the 2013 inaugural poet traces his poignant, often hilarious, and quintessentially American coming-of-age and the people who influenced him.

A prismatic and lyrical narrative rich with the colors, sounds, smells, and textures of Miami, Richard Blanco’s personal narrative is a resonant account of how he discovered his authentic self and ultimately, a deeper understanding of what it means to be American. His is a singular yet universal story that beautifully illuminates the experience of “becoming;” how we are shaped by experiences, memories, and our complex stories: the humor, love, yearning, and tenderness that define a life. 

Richard Blanco was born in Madrid in 1968 and immigrated as an infant with his Cuban-exile family to New York, then Miami, where he was raised and educated, earning a BS in civil engineering and an MFA in creative writing. An accomplished author, engineer, and educator, Blanco is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and has received honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College, and the University of Rhode Island. Following in the footsteps of such great writers as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou, in 2013 Blanco was chosen as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, becoming the youngest, first Latino, first immigrant, and first gay writer to hold the honor. 

His prizewinning books include City of a Hundred Fires, Directions to the Beach of the Dead, Looking for The Gulf Motel, and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet's Journey. His awards include the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center, the Patterson Poetry Prize, and the Thom Gunn Award.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Dumb Leading the Blind

Pa. district bans novels by Angelou, Kingsolver

A Lancaster County school district will remove novels by Maya Angelou and Barbara Kingsolver from the fall ninth-grade English curriculum following complaints by parents about the sexual content of the books.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Damn sore loser!

(Poem) No Loser, No Weeper

"I hate to lose something,"then she bent her head"even a dime, I wish I was dead. I can't explain it. No more to be said. Cept I hate to lose something." "I lost a doll once and cried for a week. She could open her eyes, and do all but speak. I believe she was took, by some doll-snatching-sneak I tell you, I hate to lose something." "A watch of mine once, got up and walked away. It had twelve numbers on it and for the time of day.
I'll never forget it and all I can say Is I really hate to lose something." "Now if I felt that way bout a watch and a toy, What you think I feel bout my lover-boy? I ain't threatening you madam, but he is my evening's joy. And I mean I really hate to lose something."
By Maya Angelou

So lately I've become a loser, as in one who loses things.

I never use to lose things, 1. because I am super careful with my things and 2. because it was easy to keep track of such few treasures but now... I've adapted this carefulness since I was a small child. I once lost a family of three bears and cried so much my poor mom took me back outside where we backtracked through all the stores we had been to that day and I won the hearts of many a store owner who promised to keep an eye out for three bears.

I had a favorite book, a gift from my sister called the Lost Playground. I loved this book because the main character, a homemade stuffed animal, had a bizarre long name, Theodore something something which I can't quite recall and also because I could relate to his owner's loss. The idea of a lost playground where lost items and toys lived in a happy limbo between worlds was scary to me. I wanted to cry, to cry the way Owl at Home cried in order to make his "teardrop tea."

Anyhow, lately I've lost single earring after single earring, and this morning I couldn't find the jeans I wanted to wear. Somehow my house has become a place where things just strangely disappear. I just don't understand it, because I'm very neat and always return things to the same place. My jewelry boxes and walk-in closet are meticulous.

I just find this so odd and upsetting. I've begun losing things that have so much sentimental value, a diamond stud earring from the pair my boyfriend bought me for Xmas a couple of years back, the $200 bracelet he bought me for my birthday, one cute cheapy companion earring to about 3 pairs of earrings now maybe even 4.

I cried for hours over the bracelet, and I'm still in denial over the diamond earring, I keep thinking, "No, it must be somewhere..."

I'm not sure if some one is playing tricks on me, since my BF's old Bulova also mysteriously disappeared or if maybe I'm just getting careless.

Anyhow, lost things just break my heart, they had a home, you know?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Before you find yourself, by yourself...

This is dedicated to those that erroneously think that the world can rest on one pair of shoulders. (& after my many years as a prof. and freelance copy editor, it's just damn funny!)

This is one of my favorite poems:


Lying, thinking

Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.
There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobodyNo, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.
Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is sufferingA
nd I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Maya Angelou
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