I was reminded recently of the Poet Laureate’s project, La Casa de Colores. It’s this wonderful idea of gathering so many voices together on a single theme. I keep meaning to contribute but haven’t yet. Looking at it again, I was struck by Herrera’s voice:
Hello everyone and welcome to La Casa de Colores, my Poet Laureate project. La Casa de Colores, or “the House of Colors,” is a house for all voices. In this house we will feed the hearth and heart of our communities with creativity and imagination. And we will stand together in times of struggle and joy. The website includes two features:
La Familia (The Family) is an opportunity for you to contribute to an epic poem of all our voices and styles and experiences that will run the span of my Laureateship. By contributing to La Familia, you will be part of my family—and all our words will be seen and our voices be heard, throughout the nation and beyond.
My first thought was, “This is a poet who loves.” Just take a moment to look at it from the perspective of craft. He welcomes us as readers. I wish I had done that at the beginning of this post. He propels us into the metaphor. It’s a house we share together. There is a warmth suggested by “hearth” and “heart.” We are a community, but not just any community. We are a community brought together in solidarity through creativity and imagination. And then, he goes even further and invites us to be part of his family.
This is just an invitation to a project. It’s not one of his poems, but there is so much there. I don’t know about you, but I wish I could write directions this way.
Speaking of directions, here’s one of Herrera’s poems, “Five Directions to My House.” Stay with it after the reading. The Laureate talks a little bit about what poetry is.
Let’s figure it out together. Yeah, that’s poetry: reader and writer together.
So go check out La Casa de Colores. There’s a new theme every month. Looks like this time the theme is democracy. Maybe you have something important to say about this one.