In delivering the inaugural poem at
President Barack Obama's second inauguration on Monday, Richard
Blanco became the youngest, first Hispanic and first gay inaugural
Blanco, 44, followed in the footsteps
of such notables as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
The former civil engineer has
previously said that he felt a calling to poetry in his mid-20s.
City of a Hundred Fires, his
first collection of poems, won the 1997 Agnes Lunch 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 told The New York Times.
“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 composed an original poem for
the ceremony, titled One Day.
(Video of Blanco reciting his poem is embedded on this page. Visit
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