Richard Blanco once told the Poetry Foundation, "Poetry is the only job in the world that when someone says, 'You made me cry,' you say, 'Thank you.'" When the camera panned to the crowd during his recitation of the inaugural poem "One Today" last week, there wasn't a damp eye in the house.

Blanco aimed high and missed, and the national audience has been a little embarrassed for him ever since. It's always awkward when something you wanted very badly to be good just isn't, and even though there were many excited expectations pinned on Blanco—a gay Latino poet lifted from obscurity, hopefully to read the Poem of Our Time before an audience of reverent millions—he just didn't deliver the goods. Maybe Blanco was too new, nervous, and unknown to rise to the occasion, but not only was his poem a flop, it was almost exactly like Elizabeth Alexander's poem from Obama's first inauguration, which no one really liked, either...

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