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Inaugural poet Richard Blanco speaks about his writing process

Poet Richard Blanco, chosen to recite a poem written for today’s second inauguration of President Barack Obama, views writing as a discovery process.

Poets should not take up a pen to write if he or she is completely sure of what the poem is about. In an interview at, Blanco said, “I’ve learned to recognize that when I sit down to write a poem, I have something to figure out, and I have to do it on the page. And I hope that my inaugural poem will do that, in some ways, for the nation. That it will work towards making sense of—all the din of the day—all that we hear in the news.”

All writing is to some degree an act of discovery. What do you have to discover in your writing?

To learn more about Blanco and his approach to poetry, read the full interview. You’ll also find links to several of his poems. Read more

Writing inspiration: Interviews with poets

Have you ever wanted to ask a poet about their process? Where they get their ideas? Where they write? What they do besides write poetry?

At you can watch short interviews with different poets who answer these questions and others. What I like about the interviews is that you can click on each question separately and get a one- to two- minute clip. Great for our busy lives.

I discovered something new while watching Brian Moses answer the question, “What part does music play in your poetry?” He shows off two musical instruments—one I’ve never heard of called the spring drum that sounds wonderfully mysterious, reminding me of wind and rain howling through a forest. I think it will make a nice addition to the growing collection of inspirational props in my writing room—for those days when I need a little nudge of inspiration.

For more in-depth interviews with poets, check out Grace Cavalieri’s website. She has interviewed over 2,000 poets, including some of the world’s best.