Poetry News

Richard Blanco Visits Milwaukee Public Radio's 'Lake Effect'

By Harriet Staff


In preparation for his Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellowship at Madison's Edgewood College, Richard Blanco speaks with Maayan Silver on Milwaukee Public Radio about his inaugural poem, and more.

In December 2012, Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco learned that he was chosen to be the Fifth Inaugural Poet of the United States. As inaugural poet, Mr. Blanco was asked to write a poem and read it at President Obama's second presidential inauguration in 2013. Mr. Blanco would be one of many “firsts” for the role: the youngest, the first immigrant, the first Latino and the first openly gay poet.

Blanco drafted three poems for the inauguration – One Today was chosen. Since then, he has read poems for other important public events, including at memorials for the Boston Marathon bombings and the re-opening of the US Embassy in Cuba.

In 2015, the Academy of American Poets named Blanco as its first Education Ambassador.

Home and belonging were always natural concerns for Mr. Blanco, who immigrated to the United States at 45 days old and grew up in a tight knit community of Cuban-Americans in Miami, Florida. From childhood into his forties, he says he had the idea that "to be American was some other narrative that I didn't belong to."

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Originally Published: February 22nd, 2016