First LGBT poet selected to read at Obama’s Inauguration Day

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By Alessio Tummolillo

Richard Blanco was announced as the 2013 Inaugural Poet this week, earning himself a list of accolades including youngest poet, first Hispanic, and first LGBT person to be chosen to read an inauguration poem. He will be the fifth poet ever to read a poem on Inauguration Day.

“I’m beside myself, bestowed with this great honor, brimming over with excitement, awe, and gratitude,” said Blanco in a press release for the Presidential Inauguration Committee. “In many ways, this is the very ‘stuff’ of the American Dream, which underlies so much of my work and my life’s story—America’s story, really. I am thrilled by the thought of coming together during this great occasion to celebrate our country and its people through the power of poetry.”

President Obama went on to say, “I’m honored that Richard Blanco will join me and Vice President Biden at our second Inaugural. His contributions to the fields of poetry and the arts have already paved a path forward for future generations of writers. Richard’s writing will be wonderfully fitting for an Inaugural that will celebrate the strength of the American people and our nation’s great diversity.”

Blanco was born in Madrid, where his Cuban parents moved after they were exiled from their home country. From there, the family moved to Miami where Blanco was raised. He resides in  Bethel, Maine with his partner.

Read Blanco’s poetry here. 

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