Richard Blanco Reads the Thanksgiving-Themed ‘América’

Richard Blanco, the poet who ushered in President Obama’s new term at his second inauguration, spoke with Jorge Ramos about his new book on Monday.

For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey tells Blanco’s story, and how he became the first immigrant, Latino and openly gay person to serve as the inaugural poet.

“I had to do a lot of soul searching, because writing a poem not just about writing a poem, it’s also a spiritual and emotional journey,” Blanco said. “So I wanted to make sure that story was out there for everyone.”

Blanco also read an excerpt from the Thanksgiving-themed work “América,” his first poem.

Here’s the excerpt:

A week before Thanksgiving

I explained to my abuelita

about the Indians and the Mayflower,

how Lincoln set the slaves free;

I explained to my parents about

the purple mountain’s majesty,

“one if by land, two if by sea”

the cherry tree, the tea party,

the amber waves of grain,

the “masses yearning to be free”

liberty and justice for all, until

finally they agreed:

this Thanksgiving we would have turkey,

as well as pork.