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Poet Richard Blanco writes about America's triumphs and tragedies

In his latest collection of poems, "How To Love A Country," Blanco writes about gun violence, immigration, and the election.
Credit: NCM

PORTLAND, Maine — Richard Blanco writes about what he sees around him and what he feels. Poetry has always been his form of expression. 

When the 2016 presidential election turned sour, he started writing a poem that now starts his latest collection, "How to Love A Country."

Blanco says the writing compares the election to spring; it's been a long winter and you're waiting for the new birth -- the greenery to sprout -- but you aren't sure if it will, or when it will. 

Blanco also writes about the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, violence that hit home for him as an openly gay man who spent a lot of time growing up in Miami.

"A nightclub was not just a place to dance or a place to pick up somebody," Blanco says. "It's really where you first come out, where you first have community before you come out to the rest of the world. It's where you learn how to negotiate yourself as a gay person. It's home... so it really struck me more so than other events."

Blanco says he doesn't believe the country is more divided than ever, but does admit that we've become quick to put each other into stereotypical boxes, without getting to know the person behind the politics. 

He hopes "How To Love A Country" helps inspire readers to take a moment to learn more about each other.