|Patricia Smith, Maria Gillan and Richard Blanco at a reading December 2012|
at The Poetry Center at PCCC in Paterson, NJ
"It is an honor to have Richard Blanco in our second inauguration," Obama said in a statement. "His contributions to the fields of poetry and art have paved the way for future generations of writers. Richard's work is well-suited for an opening that will celebrate the strength and diversity of our great country."
Blanco will be the first Latino, first gay man, and youngest person to serve in this role.
In an interview with NPR, Blanco, who now lives in Maine said "Even though it's been a few weeks since I found out, just thinking about my parents and my grandparents and all the struggles they've been through, and how, you know, here I am, first-generation Cuban-American, and this great honor that has just come to me, and just feeling that sense of just incredible gratitude and love,."
Born on February 15, 1968 in Madrid, Spain, Richard Blanco grew up in Miami, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. After receiving an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University, he embraced poetry. He has described himself as being "made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, and imported to the United States."
His books include City Of a Hundred Fires, Looking for The Gulf Motel and Directions to the Beach of the Dead. His website is http://www.richard-blanco.com