Selected by President Obama as the fifth Presidential Inaugural Poet in U.S. history, Richard Blanco was the youngest, the first Latinx, immigrant, and gay person to serve in that role. In 2023, Blanco was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Biden from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami in a working-class family, Blanco’s personal negotiation of cultural identity and the universal themes of place and belonging characterize Blanco’s many collections of poetry, including his most recent, Homeland of My Body, which reassess traditional notions of home as strictly a geographical, tangible place that merely exist outside us, but rather, within us. He has also authored the memoirs FOR ALL OF US, ONE TODAY: AN INAUGURAL POET’S JOURNEY and THE PRINCE OF LOS COCUYOS: A MIAMI CHILDHOOD. Blanco has received numerous awards, including the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize, the PEN American Beyond Margins Award, the Patterson Prize, and a Lambda Prize for memoir. He was Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has received numerous honorary degrees. Currently, he serves as Education Ambassador for The Academy of American Poets and is an Associate Professor at Florida International University. In April 2022, Blanco was appointed the first-ever Poet Laureate of Miami-Dade County.
Photo credit: Matt Stagliano