Category: inaugural poet

Richard Blanco: Inaugural Poet 2013

When I decided to post more about Richard Blanco being selected as the first gay inaugural poet in 2013, I thought I’d be posting about basic info, like publications and background. I never thought I’d see what I did this morning. Evidently, Blanco’s wiki page was altered and distorted by some online troll/bully.

But all is well now. Someone at wiki must have seen it fast because the distortions that were added have since been removed. But I have screen shots of what was written just in case no one believes me. I’m not posting those things now…or ever, because I’d rather focus on Blanco’s real life and achievements instead. Whether or not this happened as a result of Blanco being gay I don’t know. But it wouldn’t surprise me. This is the worst kind of bullying out there, and it’s a good example of what happens to people online with bullies and trolls. It’s also a good example of Freedom of Speech being abused.

The reason why I wanted to post more about Blanco is because I read a blog post yesterday, here, and it seems some people don’t even know he’s gay. There was a cute conversation going on between a few women who find Blanco attractive. So I figured I’d write something about him and post a few links for those who don’t know anything.

From his basic wiki page, which has since been fixed of all distortions:

Blanco immigrated to Miami with his Cuban exile family and was raised and educated there. He earned a B.S. from Florida International University in Civil Engineering in 1991 and his Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing in 1997, where he studied with Campbell McGrath.

Since 1999, he traveled and lived in Guatemala and Brazil. He taught at Georgetown University, American University, and Central Connecticut State University.[1][2]

He explored his Cuban heritage in his early works and his role as a gay man in Cuban-American culture in Looking for the Gulf Motel (2012). He explained: “It’s trying to understand how I fit between negotiating the world, between being mainstream gay and being Cuban gay.”[3]

His work has appeared in The Nation, Ploughshares,[4] Indiana Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, TriQuarterly Review, New England Review, and Americas Review. Blanco is part of the online Letras Latinas Oral History Project archives.

On January 8, 2013, he was named the inaugural poet for Barack Obama‘s second inauguration, the fifth person to play that role. He is the first immigrant, first Latino, and first gay person to be inaugural poet.[5] He is also the youngest.[6]

And this is a link to Blanco’s web site.

I didn’t expect to find this information at his web site because so many author web sites don’t work, but his really does say it all. You can find out everything you wanted to know about him, including more photos and videos of him giving readings. It’s interesting for me because I’ve never been much of a poet. I’ve written novels in three weeks, but it would probably take me a year to finish a poem. But I love reading poetry, and I often worry it’s becoming a lost art.

Here’s something about Blanco and the history of inaugural poets.

The tradition of asking a poet to compose and recite a poem for the inauguration began in 1961 with John F. Kennedy, who asked Robert Frost.

This is Blanco’s amazon page where you can check out his books. And I really do recommend checking out his web site and listening to his readings. His work is magical, and his voice is soothing, and he’s not hard to look at either.