Selected by President Obama in 2013 as the fifth inaugural poet in US history, Richard Blanco joins the ranks of such luminaries as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou, and is the youngest and the first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role.
Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, Blanco characterizes the negotiations of cultural identity, community, and belonging in his award-winning poetry. His most recent collection of poems, How to Love a Country, interrogates the American narrative, past and present, and celebrates the still unkept promise of its ideals. In celebration of the DMA’s new exhibition My|gration, Blanco will debut an original commissioned poem inspired by a work of art in the collection.
Blanco is the author of two memoirs, and his inaugural poem “One Today” was published as a children’s book, in collaboration with illustrator Dav Pilkey. Boundaries, a collaboration with photographer Jacob Hessler, challenges the physical and psychological dividing lines that shadow the United States. A builder of poems as well as cities, Blanco has degrees in civil engineering and creative writing. He serves as the first Education Ambassador for the Academy of American Poets.
“At a time when we are once again debating our identity as Americans, this splendid collection of poems from a great storytelling poet is an absolute treasure that speaks to the things that hold us together, despite the things that split us apart.”