Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Richard Blanco Chosen 2013 Inaugural Poet

FIU MFA program alumnus Richard Blanco has been chosen to be the 2013 inaugural poet. He will be reading a new poem composed for the occasion when President Obama takes the oath of office on the steps of the Capitol on January 21st. The New York Times reports: "Addie Whisenant, the inaugural committee’s spokeswoman, said Mr. Obama picked Mr. Blanco because the poet’s 'deeply personal poems are rooted in the idea of what it means to be an American.'”

Blanco's MFA thesis collection developed into his first book, City of a Hundred Fires, which won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize in 1997.  His most recent book,  Looking for the Gulf Motel, was published last year.  In an NPR interview airing Jan. 9th, Blanco discusses how being "made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, and imported to the United States" (as he has wryly described himself) has informed his work: "This whole idea of place and identity and what's home and what's not home, and which is in some ways such an American question that we've been asking since, you know, since [Walt] Whitman, trying to put that finger on America."