Richard Blanco, fifth U.S. inaugural poet will give keynote speech at Lafayette during Hispanic Heritage Month 2015.
One of four Hispanic Heritage Month events in October

Lafayette College continues the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month by welcoming keynote speaker Richard Blanco. Blanco, selected by President Obama to serve as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, will present a lecture at 7 p.m., Thurs., Oct. 1 in Colton Chapel. It is free and open to the public.

As inaugural poet Richard Blanco joins the ranks of luminaries such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. The youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role, he read his poem, “One Today,” at the official ceremony in 2013. In his first prose publication, For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey, Blanco shares the details of his experiences.

The negotiation of cultural identity and universal themes of place and belonging characterize Blanco’s three collections of poetry: City of a Hundred Fires, Directions to The Beach of the Dead, and Looking for The Gulf Motel.

His literary awards include the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center, the Patterson Poetry Prize, the 2013 Maine Literary Award for Poetry, and the Thom Gunn Award. In 2015, the Academy of American Poets named him its first Education Ambassador.

He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Florida International University.

Blanco has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air with Terry Gross, as well as major media from around the world, including CNN, Telemundo, AC360, BBC, Univision, and PBS.

Upcoming events include a talk Oct. 7 by Joe Nechasek ’62, curator of the Skillman Library exhibit “My New American Life: Contemporary Immigration Literature,” a poetry reading Oct. 15 by Spanish writer José Ovejero, and a trip Oct. 24 to the New York Botanical Gardens to examine works by celebrated Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

Events are sponsored by the Hispanic Society of Lafayette, Office of Intercultural Development, Skillman Library, and Friends of Skillman Library.


Photo courtesy of Lafayette College.

Kristine Y. Todaro
Director/Special Projects & Media Relations
Lafayette College

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