Obama picks Cuban-born, Miami-raised poet for inauguration

By | January 9th, 2013 | No Comments

Richard Blanco, a son of Cuban exiles who grew up in Miami, will recite an original poem at Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration, on January 21, according to the New York Times.

From the moment Barack Obama burst onto the political scene, the poet Richard Blanco, a son of Cuban exiles, says he felt “a spiritual connection” with the man who would become the nation’s 44th president.

Like Mr. Obama, who chronicled his multicultural upbringing in a best-selling autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” Mr. Blanco has been on a quest for personal identity through the written word. He said his affinity for Mr. Obama springs from his own feeling of straddling different worlds; he is Latino and gay (and worked as a civil engineer while pursuing poetry). His poems are laden with longing for the sights and smells of the land his parents left behind.

Now Mr. Obama is about to pluck Mr. Blanco out of the relatively obscure and quiet world of poetry and put him on display before the entire world.

To learn more about Blanco, who honed his craft at FIU and writes about “negotiating the world” as a “mainstream gay” man who came out of a very conservative culture, read the NYT’s profile. On this recording, Blanco reads “América”, a poem from his first collection, City of a Hundred Fires.

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