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Popular Topics in Literature
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Congratulations
 
Congratulations to Richard Blanco
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 01/09/13
Last updated on: 01/09/13
 
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Richard Blanco at home in Maine.

Congratulations to Richard Blanco, who has been chosen to read an original poem at the January 21, 2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama. The author of three acclaimed books of poetry, Blanco is the son of Cuban exiles. He was conceived in Cuba, born in Spain, and reared in Miami. He currently lives in Bethel, Maine with his partner, Mark.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes in the New York Times that Blanco has long felt a spiritual connection with the President. His affinity for Obama "springs from his own feeling of straddling different worlds; he is Latino and gay (and worked as a civil engineer while pursuing poetry)."

Blanco's first collection, City of a Hundred Fires won the 1997 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, a prestigious literary award for a first full-length book of poetry, and was published the next year by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Like his first, his second book, Directions to the Beach of the Dead (2005), also explores his Cuban heritage. His third book, Looking for the Gulf Motel (2012), however, focuses on how he incorporates his life as a gay man within a conservative Cuban culture.

"It's trying to understand how I fit between negotiating the world, between being mainstream gay and being Cuban gay," he told Stolberg.

Of the inaugural poem, he said, "The challenge is how to be me in the poem, to have a voice that's still intimate but yet can encompass a multitude of what America is."

To learn more about Richard Blanco, investigate his webpage.

In the video below, from a reading in New York's Bryant Park in 2012, Blanco reads his poem "Queer Theory (According to His Grandmother)."

From the same reading, Blanco reads "Betting on America."

 
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