Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco in 2013. Photo by Sam Farzaneh. Licensed under Creative Commons, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Richard Blanco (born 1968) is an American poet.[1]


Blanco was born in Spain to a Cuban family. He immigrated with his family to Miami where he was raised and educated.

He graduated from Florida International University in Civil Engineering (1991) and Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing (1997), where he studied with Campbell McGrath.

Since 1999, he has traveled and lived in Guatemala, and Brazil. He taught at Georgetown University, American University, and Central Connecticut State University.[2][3] He lives in Miami.[4]

His work has appeared in The Nation, Ploughshares,[5] Indiana Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, TriQuarterly Review, New England Review, and Americas Review. Blanco is part of the online Letras Latinas Oral History Project archives.


In the poem "Queer Theory, According to My Grandmother," he described how his grandmother warned him as a young boy: "For God’s sake, never pee sitting down.../I’ve seen you" and "Don't stare at The Six-Million-Dollar Man./I’ve seen you." and "Never dance alone in your room."[6]

When asked in a May 7, 2012 interview with La Bloga whether he considered himself a Cuban writer or simply a writer, Blanco responded: "I am a writer who happens to be Cuban, but I reserve the right to write about anything I want, not just my cultural identity. Aesthetically and politically, I don't exclusively align myself with any one particular group—Latino, Cuban, gay, or 'white'—but I embrace them all. Good writing is good writing. I like what I like."[7]


Watch Poet Richard Blanco Read the Inaugural Poem07:14

Watch Poet Richard Blanco Read the Inaugural Poem

On January 8, 2013, Blanco was named the inaugural poet for Barack Obama's second inauguration, the fifth poet to read at a presidential inauguraation. He is the first immigrant, first Latino, and first gay person to be inaugural poet.[8] He is also the youngest.[9]


  • 1988 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize
  • John Ciardi Fellowship from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference
  • Florida Artist Fellowship[10]
  • Residency Fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts
  • 2006 PEN Open Book Award (formerly known as Beyond Margins Award) for Directions to the Beach of the Dead




  • For All of Us, One Today: An inaugural poet's journey. Boston: Beacon Press, 2013.
  • Cuba Then: Rare and classic images from the Ramiro A. Fernandez collection. New York: Monacelli Press, 2013.
  • The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami childhood. New York: Ecco Press, 2014.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[11]

Audio / videoEdit

Richard Blanco Reads Poem "Betting on America"03:54

Richard Blanco Reads Poem "Betting on America"

  • The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami childhood (MP3). Philadelphia: Free Library of Philadelphia, 2014.

Except where noted, discographical information courtesy WorldCat.[11]

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

Audio / video
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