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Poet Richard Blanco (Looking for the Gulf Motel) has been chosen to be the nation’s fifth inaugural poet. The Presidential Inaugural Committee made the official announcement Wednesday morning. Blanco is the youngest poet “— as well as the first Latino — to take part in an inaugural ceremony.”
New York Times reports,
Like Mr. Obama, who chronicled his multicultural upbringing in a best-selling autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” Mr. Blanco has been on a quest for personal identity through the written word. He said his affinity for Mr. Obama springs from his own feeling of straddling different worlds; he is Latino and gay (and worked as a civil engineer while pursuing poetry). His poems are laden with longing for the sights and smells of the land his parents left behind.
Now Mr. Obama is about to pluck Mr. Blanco out of the relatively obscure and quiet world of poetry and put him on display before the entire world […] joining the ranks of notables like Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
The public inaugural ceremony will take place in Washington D.C. on January 21st.
Listen to a NPR interview with Blanco where he talks about his work and the process of writing the inaugural poem here.