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 emigrated once more and eventually settled in Miami where he was raised and educated. His acclaimed first book, City of a Hundred Fires, explores the yearnings and negotiation of cultural identity as a Cuban-American, and received the prestigious Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press (1998). His second book, Directions to The Beach of the Dead (University of Arizona Press, 2005) won the 2006 PEN/American Beyond Margins Award for its continued exploration of the universal themes of home and place. In January 2013, he was invited to read a poem at President Obama's second inauguration.
Blanco’s poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, Michigan Quarterly, Best American Poetry 2000, Best American Prose Poems, and National Public Radio. He is recipient of a Bread Loaf Fellowship and a Florida Artist Fellowship. A former assistant professor, Blanco has taught at Georgetown, American University, and Connecticut State University. Currently, he is a board member and Vice-President of The Macondo Foundation, an association of writers founded by Sandra Cisneros united in their creative advancement and service to community. A builder of cities and poems, Blanco earned both a bachelors of science degree in Civil Engineering and a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing (1997). He currently lives in Bethel, Maine, where he writes and works as a consultant engineer.
VideoNewsHour Poetry Series
- Inauguration Poet Richard Blanco Hopes to Offer Words of Unity, Belonging
Richard Blanco, a Spanish born Cuban-American, is the first Latino, openly gay, as well as the youngest poet to ever at a presidential inauguration.
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