June/July 2019

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Page 73 of 75

Reading poetry into a micro- phone in a recording studio is a very different experience from sharing it in front of a live audience—espe- cially a very, very large live audience, as was the case when poet Richard Blanco recited his poem "One Today" as part of President Obama's second inauguration. It's different for the listener, too. "With an audiobook, you can go back to it, like a favorite song," Blanco says. When it came time for him to record his new collec- tion, How to Love a Country, Blanco wanted to avoid anything that felt sterile or that might stifle the emotion- ality of these personal poems. "I was inviting the emotion," he says, and so he made himself comfortable at the Beacon Press offices in Boston. "It was like being with family. I took off my shoes, I undid my belt. . . ." Poetry fans will be glad to be able to listen to the final result again and again. —Jennifer M. Dowell Richard Blanco Poet Bethel, Maine Listening With . . . Photo by Kevin Brusie 72 n AudioFile/ Editors' Note: See our review of How to Love a Country on page 36.

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