Background on poet Richard Blanco
A press release from the Inaugural Committee provided this information on Richard Blanco:
Born in Spain to Cuban exiles, Blanco’s parents emigrated to New York City days after his birth and eventually settled in Miami.
Blanco began his career as a consultant engineer. Writing about abstract concepts and preparing arguments on behalf of his clients helped Blanco think about the “engineering” of language, and he left his job in 1999 for the creative writing faculty at Central Connecticut State University until 2001.
Thereafter he served as instructor at various universities throughout the country, including American and Georgetown universities, all the while maintaining his career in consulting engineer.
Blanco's career as an English-language Latino poet gained momentum when his first collection, "City of a Hundred Fires," won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh. Blanco's second book of poetry, "Directions to The Beach of the Dead," won the PEN American Center Beyond Margins Award. His third collection, "Looking for The Gulf Motel," was published in 2012.
As a writer, Blanco explores the collective American experience of cultural negotiation through the lens of family and love, particularly his mother’s life shaped by exile, his relationship with his father, and the passing of a generation of relatives.
His work also explores the intersection of his cultural identities as a Cuban-American gay man.