‘This Is Us’ – Poetic Inspiration

OK, This Is Us fans, this is interesting and cool. In the third episode of the new NBC hit, the origin of Randall’s name is explained. It is one of those small details that resonates long after the scene has passed and says so much about creator Dan Fogelman’s thought and writing.

In a quiet scene, Randall’s biological father, William, hands his adoptive mother, Rebecca, a book of poetry titled Poem Counterpoem. A close-up of the cover reveals the author’s name: Dudley Randall.

For those unaware – or unfamiliar – Dudley Randall was a poet, living until 2000, when he passed away at age 86.

A ground-breaking publisher and Poet Laureate of the City of Detroit, his most famous poem, “The Ballad of Birmingham,” was written in 1963 in response to white supremacist attack on an African American Baptist church that killed four girls.

According to Beltway: A Poetry Quarterly, Randall’s “body of work both chronicles and evokes, informs and emotes. Many of his poems capture characters, speech, and “response. Randall challenges readers to examine the foundations of their beliefs and values, by way of his genuine word.”

And thus was Randall named.