Poet at Obama Inauguration Makes History: LGBT, Latino, Youngest
From the presidential inauguration committee
Originally printed 1/10/2013 (Issue 2102 - Between The Lines News)
WASHINGTON, DC - On Wednesday the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) announced that Richard Blanco will serve as the Inaugural poet at the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 21. Blanco will be the youngest-ever Inaugural poet and the first Hispanic or LGBT person to recite a poem at the swearing-in ceremony.
"I'm honored that Richard Blanco will join me and Vice President Biden at our second Inaugural," President Obama said. "His contributions to the fields of poetry and the arts have already paved a path forward for future generations of writers. Richard's writing will be wonderfully fitting for an Inaugural that will celebrate the strength of the American people and our nation's great diversity."
Born in Spain to Cuban exiles, Blanco's parents emigrated to New York City days after his birth and eventually settled in Miami. Blanco began his career as a consultant engineer. Writing about abstract concepts and preparing arguments on behalf of his clients helped Blanco think about the "engineering" of language, and he left his job in 1999 for the creative writing faculty at Central Connecticut State University until 2001. Thereafter he served as instructor at various universities throughout the country, including American and Georgetown universities, all the while maintaining his career in consulting engineer.
Blanco's career as an English-language Latino poet gained momentum when his first collection,City of a Hundred Fires, won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh. Blanco's second book of poetry, Directions to The Beach of the Dead, won the PEN American Center Beyond Margins Award. His third collection, Looking for The Gulf Motel, was published in 2012.
As a writer, Blanco explores the collective American experience of cultural negotiation through the lens of family and love, particularly his mother's life shaped by exile, his relationship with his father, and the passing of a generation of relatives. His work also explores the intersection of his cultural identities as a Cuban-American gay man.
"I'm beside myself, bestowed with this great honor, brimming over with excitement, awe, and gratitude," Blanco said today. "In many ways, this is the very 'stuff' of the American Dream, which underlies so much of my work and my life's story--America's story, really. I am thrilled by the thought of coming together during this great occasion to celebrate our country and its people through the power of poetry."
In addition to writing poetry, Blanco has worked to strengthen communities and support neighbors, from working with students on writing and interpreting poems throughout the country to serving as a member of his town's Planning Board in Bethel, Maine where he currently lives. His commitment reflects the ideals of the National Day of Service, and demonstrates that, as President Obama has said, we can all give back to our communities.
The first inaugural poet was Robert Frost at President Kennedy's 1961 inauguration. In 1993, at the inauguration of President Clinton, Maya Angelou became the second inaugural poet and the first to read an original poem at an inauguration. She was followed by Miller Williams in 1997 and Elizabeth Alexander in 2009.
President Obama was involved in the selection of participants in the Inaugural program, including Richard Blanco.
- Guide To Elections Across the U.S.
- 5th Circuit Court Sets Date To Hear SSM Cases
- Federal Gov. To Recognize Same-Sex Married Couples In Six More States
- Hook-Up Related Homicide In Pennsylvania
- Bishops Scrap Welcome To Gays In Sign Of Split
- Federal Judge Strikes Down Arizona Same-Sex Marriage Ban
- October Surprise At The Supreme Court
- Alaska Will Issue Marriage Licenses To Gay Couples
- Oklahoma Gay Couples Can Now File For Benefits
- National Coming Out Day 2014
- Supreme Court Denies Seven Appeals In Five States
- New York Soon To Change Gender Options On Birth Certificates
- Supreme Court Rejects Five Gay Marriage Appeals
- 9th Circuit Strikes Bans Adds Five More States
- Revisiting Annual Reminders, Nearly 50 Years Later
- The Financial Penalty Of Being LGBT In America
- Freedom To Marry Launches National TV AD
- Two LGBTQ Trailblazers Receive MacArthur Fellowships Totaling $1.25 Million
- Oye Crepes
- Dexter Cabinet & Countertop
- Event Planners
- Ypsilanti Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Families and Parents
- PFLAG Lansing
- Birmingham Jewelry
- Real Estate/Agent
- Berkshire Hathaway HWWB Realtors
- Religious & Spiritual
- Metropolitan Community Church of Windsor
- Jewish Gay Network
- Social/Community Organizations
- Black Pride Society, Inc.
- Substance Abuse
- Al-Anon Office of Metro Detroit
Enter contests to win great prizes like CDs, DVDs, concert tickets and more
- Q&A: Annie Lennox On Her Legacy, Why Beyonce Is 'Feminist Lite'
- Q&A: Getting To The Core Of Nick Jonas: Abs, Album & That Gay Striptease 'They Made Me Do'
- Q&A: Lisa Kudrow On Judging 'Drag Race' (As Valerie Cherish!) & Gays Being Biologically 'Superhuman'
- GOP Hopeful Wants 'Christians' Fleeing MI If Gays Get Civil Rights
- Creep of the Week: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!
MICHIGAN - A recent study by Affirmations Community Center and the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, funded by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), facilitated eight focus groups with LGBT-identified individuals that helps shed light on tobacco use within the LGBT community.View More Health and Wellness
This Week's Issue
Download or view this week's print issue today!
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!