Richard Blanco, selected as the 2013 inaugural poet by President Barack Obama, is the author of three poetry collections: Directions to The Beach of the Dead, winner of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award; City of a Hundred Fires, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, and Looking for The Gulf Motel. Exploring themes of Latino identity and place, his poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2000 and Best American Prose Poems and have been featured on NPR. Blanco is a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, recipient of two Florida Artist Fellowships, and has taught at Georgetown and American universities. A builder of cities and poems, Blanco is also a professional civil engineer.
Matters of the Sea / Cosas del mar is a commemorative bilingual chapbook that beautifully reproduces Richard Blanco’s stirring poem presented during the historic reopening ceremony of the United States Embassy in Havana, Cuba, on August 14, 2015.”Matters of the Sea is one of the most emotionally complex and personal poems I’ve ever written, invested with all my love for the people of two countries that are part of my very being. As with the presidential inauguration in 2013, I am once again humbled and honored to participate as a poet in another historic moment of such significance. I’m elated by the power of poetry to mark such important, communal moments and to be a catalyst for change and understanding by reaching deep into our emotional selves and connecting us to our shared humanity.”—Richard Blanco
Boston Strong is a commemorative chapbook that beautifully reproduces Richard Blanco’s poignant poem presented May 30, 2013 at the benefit concert to help the people most affected by the tragic events that occured on April 15, 2013 during the Boston Marathon.
The net proceeds from the sale of this book benefit The One Fund Boston.
The One Fund Boston was established through the generosity of businesses, foundations, and individual donors. The Victim Relief Fund of The One Fund Boston will be used to assist those families of the victims who were killed and the victims who were most seriously affected as a result of the tragic events during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, and related events on April 18 and April 19.
Family continues to be a wellspring of inspiration and learning for Blanco. His third book of poetry, Looking for The Gulf Motel, is a genealogy of the heart, exploring how his family’s emotional legacy has shaped—and continues shaping—his perspectives. The collection is presented in three movements, each one chronicling his understanding of a particular facet of life from childhood into adulthood. As a child born into the milieu of his Cuban exiled familia, the first movement delves into early questions of cultural identity and their evolution into his unrelenting sense of displacement and quest for the elusive meaning of home. The second, begins with poems peering back into family again, examining the blurred lines of gender, the frailty of his father-son relationship, and the intersection of his cultural and sexual identities as a Cuban-American gay man living in rural Maine. In the last movement, poems focused on his mother’s life shaped by exile, his father’s death, and the passing of a generation of relatives, all provide lessons about his own impermanence in the world and the permanence of loss. Looking for the Gulf Motel is looking for the beauty of that which we cannot hold onto, be it country, family, or love.
Named one of Library Journal’s Top 20 Poetry Books of 1998
Winner of the 1997 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize
Runner up for the Great Lakes Colleges Association 1999 New Writers Award
City of a Hundred Fires presents us with a journey through the cultural coming of age experiences of the hyphenated Cuban-American. This distinct group, known as the Ñ Generation (as coined by Bill Teck), are the bilingual children of Cuban exiles nourished by two cultural currents—the fragmented traditions and transferred nostalgia of their parents’ Caribbean homeland and the very real and present America where they grew up and live.