Richard Blanco - Reading by Fifth Inaugural Poet
From Nancy Castro
Richard Blanco is the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history—the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. He was born in Madrid to Cuban exiled parents and raised in Miami, and the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his three collections of poetry: City of a Hundred Fires, Directions to The Beach of the Dead, and Looking for The Gulf Motel. His awards include the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center, the Paterson Poetry Prize, and the Thom Gunn Award. He has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. A builder of cities as well as poems, Blanco holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.F.A in Creative Writing. He is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and has received honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College, and the University of Rhode Island. He has taught at Central Connecticut State University, Georgetown University, and American University. Blanco currently lives in Bethel, Maine. A memoir of his childhood in Miami, The Prince of Los Cocuyos, was recently published by Ecco/Harper Collins.