Recently I saw that Maine poet Richard Blanco’s new book FOR ALL OF US, ONE TODAY was on the New York Times bestseller list. This makes me happy. (And what’s not to love about a poet who has blurbs on his website from Anderson Cooper, Gloria Estefan and Tim Gunn?) It’s been a year since he read his stunning poem at the presidential inauguration, and got quite a few people interested in accessible poetry that speaks to Americans of all stripes. Blanco’s celebrity-poet status is going strong.
I also noted in last week’s Maine Sunday Telegram that the #5 best selling nonfiction paperback at Longfellow Books in Portland is PORT CITY POEMS, the recent anthology edited by Portland Poet Laureate Marcia Brown. (This was erroneously identified as being published by Down East; it’s a publication of Maine Poetry Central.) I love it that people around Portland are finding and buying this anthology, which is locally produced and distributed. The fact that these books are on national and local bestseller lists speaks to the refusal of poetry, which has been aptly referred to as the “forgotten stepchild of literature”, to roll over and play dead.