Comprehension Questions

Watch the video and reread Richard Blanco’s poem “One Today” before you answer the following comprehension questions.

1.How does Richard Blanco’s message resonate right now?

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2.In the final lines of the poem, Blanco refers to a “new constellation, waiting for us to map it.” Using images and metaphors, how would you describe the constellation of your own life?

3.How does Blanco use the five senses to describe his experience of the world? Describe your daily life using all five senses.

4.Watch the video and then read the poem underlining what you think are its more important words. Explain why you think these particular words and images are important to the poem’s meaning.

5.In the first and seventh stanzas, the speaker makes reference to geographical places. What do these places suggest? What do they mean to Americans?

6.Throughout the poem we find many references to labor and work. Identify these lines and phrases. What kind of work does the speaker in the poem honor and respect? What are these lines saying about America and Americans?

7.This poem was first read don Martin Luther King’s Birthday celebration in Washington. Explain the allusion entailed in “the ‘I have a dream’ we keep dreaming”?

8.The sixth stanza begins “Hear” and goes on to catalog the ordinary sounds of a day. What do the multilingual versions of “Hello” suggest about the America that Mr. Blanco is describing? Why do you think he calls out “buenos días / in the language my mother taught me”? What do these lines suggest about the poet’s relationship with that language?

9.Identify lines in the poem that reflect the occasion for which the poem was written. How do the lines you have chosen suggest issues surrounding the inauguration of a president?

10.Read the poem again selecting a line or phrase that struck you as luminous or beguiling. Write for five minutes about what the line caused you to think.

11.Mr. Blanco is quoted as saying he wanted to write about “the salt – of-the-earth sense that I think all Americans have, of hard work, we can work it out together, that incredible American spirit that after 200-plus years is still there.” How well do you think he succeeded?

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