News Column

Cuban Poet Chosen for Obama's Swearing-in Ceremony

Jan. 9, 2013

Rebecca Villaneda--HispanicBusiness

Richard Blanco (Photo courtesy of

Richard Blanco, a Cuban-American poet, was chosen to be the inaugural poet at President Obama's swearing-in ceremony on Monday, Jan 21.

He will be the first Hispanic person to recite a poem at the swearing-in ceremony, according to the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC).

"I'm beside myself, bestowed with this great honor, brimming over with excitement, awe, and gratitude," Blanco said in a statement. "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."

According to the PIC, Blanco also is the youngest-ever inaugural poet and the first LGBT person to recite a poem at the ceremony.

Blanco's poems have appeared in top literary journals including, The Nation, the New Republic, Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly Review, and TriQuarterly Review. He has been featured on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, and various conferences and venues, including the Miami Book Fair, The Southern Writers Conference, The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, the Dodge Poetry Festival, and The Poetry Center at Smith College.

"I'm honored that Richard Blanco will join me and Vice President Biden at our second Inaugural," President Obama said in a statement. "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."

Watch Blanco read some of his poetry by clicking, here.

Source: (c) 2013. All rights reserved.

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