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Single Voice Reading Series: Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco
January 30, 2014 @ 7:00 pm
Poet Richard Blanco was made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, and imported to the United States—meaning his mother, seven months pregnant, and the rest of the family arrived as exiles from Cuba to Madrid, where he was born. Only forty-five days later, the family settled in New York City, and then eventually in Miami, where he was raised.
His acclaimed first book of poetry, City of a Hundred Fires, which explores the yearnings and negotiation of cultural identity as a Cuban-American, received the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press. His second book, Directions to The Beach of the Dead, won the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center for its continued exploration of the universal themes of cultural identity and homecoming. Looking for The Gulf Motel examines the blurred lines of gender, the frailty of his father-son relationship, and the intersection of his cultural and sexual identities as a Cuban-American gay man living in rural Maine.
In January 2013, Blanco was selected by President Obama to be the inaugural poet, joining the ranks of Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. A builder of cities as well as poems, he holds a B.S. in civil engineering and an MFA in creative writing.