Openly gay poet Richard Blanco will
deliver a poem at President Barack Obama's upcoming inauguration.
According to The
New York Times, the president's inaugural planners on
Wednesday will announce Blanco as the 2013 inaugural poet.
Blanco follows in the footsteps of such
notables as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
“Since the beginning of the campaign,
I totally related to his life story and the way he speaks of his
family, and of course his multicultural background,” said Blanco,
the son of Cuban exiles. “There has always been a spiritual
connection in that sense. I feel in some ways that when I'm writing
about my family, I'm writing about him.”
Blanco, 44, will compose an original
poem for the January 21 ceremony.
Inaugural committee spokeswoman Addie
Whisenant said Obama picked Blanco because his “poems are rooted in
the idea of what it means to be an American.”
Blanco, who previously worked as a
civil engineer, said he felt a calling to poetry in his mid-20s.
City of a Hundred Fires, his
first collection of poems, won the 1997 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry
Prize. His latest collection, Looking for the Gulf Motel,
explores life as a gay Cuban man.
“It's trying to understand how I fit
between negotiating the world, between being mainstream gay and being
Cuban gay,” he said.
He only recently gave up engineering to
concentrate on writing full time.