Richard Blanco is a Cuban- American poet who was given the oppurunity to write an inaugaration poem for Barack Obama’s second swearing-in. He wrote a poem titled “One Today” that praised the good and unique things about the United States and also the everyday people who’s daily routines help to make America the proud country that it is. Blanco uses several rhetorical devices throughout “One Today”, more so in the first few stanzas.
An example of figurative language he used was the repetition of certain words or similar words in order to create a flow within the poem. My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors” is a line in the poem that best represents this. Blanco also uses personification to give a better description of the beauty that he is describing, such as “plum blush of dusk”. Another use of figurative language found in stanza four is the repetition of the word “hands” which he uses to represent the many hard-working hands of America and the things they do to contribute to the well-being of the country.
The word choice in the poem is a big part of what I think ties the whole poem together, and creates a theme that carries through each stanza. As you read the poem you will notice the excessive use of the word “one” which is most often featured at the beginning of a stanza and followed by something that connects everyone in the country together. An example of this is the first line in the fourth stanza of the poem, which reads “One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat and hands… . Another example is the use of words that represent movement.
“Rose, charging, crescendoing, teeming, launching, jetting” are all words used throughout the poem that outline the daily movement that occurs in the lives of American citizens. In the sixth stanza of the poem Blanco gives examples of the many different ways that you may hear U. S residents say hello. I think that he did this to represent the many different cultures that make up the population of the United States, and the vast amount of languages that they speak.
I think the tone and voice that this poem has is that of pride and patriotism. The author does this by outlining the good qualities that the United States has to offer. However he does this is in such away that it does not sound like bragging, because he does not boast about all of the beauty or things that America is known for but rather the people who work to make it this way and how these things bring them together. “One Today” is of course written in a formal manner because of the occasion that that it was written for.
That is why it does not contain any humour, abbreveations or informal language. I think that the voice that the author used in this poem fit the occasion perfectly because it was straight forward, easily understandable and relatable to any American citizen. The sentence structure of this poem is unlike a lot of poems that you might see where the lines are of equal length and contain the same amount of sylables. Rather than taking that approach, Blanco’s poem contained senteneces, and lines that were all of different length.
For example, in the second stanza blanco included two very long lines that included dashes and comma’s because he was creating a list. Some of the very short lines feautured throughout the poem occur beacause the sentence was too long to fit into the line before and was continued in the next line. After I applied all of these craft techniques to the poem “One Today” it helped me to better understand why the author wrote it the way that he did.
Courtney from Study Moose
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