March 25, 2014
Free and open to the public
President Obama's Inaugural Poet, Richard Blanco was made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, and imported to the United States—meaning his mother, 7 months pregnant, and the rest of the family arrived as exiles from Cuba to Madrid where he was born. Only 45 days later, the family emigrated once more and settled in Miami. His acclaimed first book of poetry, City of a Hundred Fires
, explores the yearnings and negotiation of cultural identity as a Cuban- American, and received the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize. His second book, Directions to The Beach of the Dead
, won the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center for its continued exploration of the universal themes of cultural identity and homecoming.