Richard Blanco, selected by President Obama as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, is the youngest and first Latino, immigrant and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity characterizes his three collections or poetry: City of a Hundred Fires, which received the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press; Directories to the Beach of the Dead, recipient of the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center; and Looking for The Gulf Mote, recipient of the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award. He has also authored the memoirs for All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey and The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood, winner of the Lambda Literary Prize. His inaugural poem “One Today” was published as a children’s book in collaboration with renowned illustrator Dav Pilkey and, his most recent book, Boundaries, a collaboration with photographer Jacob Hessler, challenges the dividing lines that shadow the United States. Blanco has written occasional poems for the re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, Freedom to Marry, and the Boston Strong benefit concert following the Boston Marathon Bombings. He is a Woodrow Wilson fellow and has taught at Georgetown University, American University, and Wesleyan University. He serves as first Education Ambassador for the Academy of American Poets.
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