Poetry and Cultural Diversity
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Cultural Diversity and Poetry
In this essay, we shall use “On the Pulse of Morning” by Maya Angelou, and “One Today.” By Richard Blanco. What connects these poems is that both poets read them in front of presidents. These events are a mark of the cultural importance these poems have. In this essay, we shall comment on the cultural diversity from the 20th century, to our days, using those poems as a reference.
“The singing river and the wise rock. /So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew, /The African and Native American, the Sioux, /The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek, /The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh, / The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher, / The privileged, the homeless, the teacher. /They hear. They all hear / The speaking of the tree.” (Angelou 1) In this stanza, Angelou cleverly comments on the cultural differences in America. She mentions many of the ethnicities that came to it, and mixed, creating the melting pot that the United States is. In the same way, the image of the tree holds great importance, as it is a device used to show that we are all together despite our differences. We stem from the tree because we are all Americans.
During 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, our country has experienced many changes, changes in how people see those who they consider “different”. “One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk / of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweatand hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills / in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands/ as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane / so my brother and I could have books and shoes.” (Blanco 4). This stanza is particularly moving and shows us the importance of hard work for those who came to the country as immigrants. Blanco recounts his experience as he greets and thanks all those whose hands helped building the future of this country. In that way, we can see that the two poems are about the same, both recount the importance of all the hands involved in the building of America.
The United States is all about integration and diversity, although through time there have been outbursts of racism, or struggles because of different opinions, America has welcomed them all. Every country has its flaws, but despite that, it has been able to rise, all thanks to all those who worked together and came to the country longing for a better future.
Angelou, M. “On the Pulse of Morning.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, 1993. Web. 9 July 2015. <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178949>.
Blanco, R. “One Today.” Catbird Seat Poetry Literature at the Library of Congress. 28 Jan. 2013. Web. 9 July 2015. <http://blogs.loc.gov/catbird/2013/01/richard-blancos-inaugural-poem-one-today/>.
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