Richard Blanco: America's First Latino Inaugural Poet

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, requested his inaugural poem from Richard Blanco (@rblancopoet), the son of Cuban emigrants and the first Latino, Spanish speaker, and gay man to receive this honor. According to an article from The New York Times, Blanco confesses to feeling “a spiritual connection” with the reelected leader.

On his blog, “Adventures in urban life,” Achy Obejas writes:

Cuando me enteré de la noticia de hoy – que este dulce, amable, talentoso, magnífico y de gran corazón homosexual cubano había sido nombrado como poeta inaugural del presidente Barack Obama para su toma de posesión en el segundo mandado – supe que tenía que tomar un respiro y palparme el corazón.

So when I heard today’s news — that this sweet, kind, talented, gorgeous and big-hearted Cuban gay man had been tapped as President Barack Obama’s inaugural poet for his second swearing in — I had to take a breath and hold my heart.

Further on, Obejas reflects upon the feeling that his life evidently had little importance until:

Inicias sesión en Facebook y el Presidente de los Estados Unidos, el hombre más poderoso de la tierra, ha escogido a una persona que conoces – un maricón, un Cubiche al que le gusta decir en broma que fue hecho en Estados Unidos con piezas cubanas (…) – para consagrar ese momento de la historia con sus – nuestras – palabras.


You log in to Facebook and the President of the United States, the most powerful man on earth, has chosen a guy you know — a fag, a cubiche who likes to joke that he was made in the U.S. with Cuban parts, with whom you codeswitch about Miyami and lechón and our mamis — to consecrate this moment in history with his — our – words.


Blanco must compose an original poem for the presidential ceremony that will be take place on staircase of the Capitol Building on January 21st.

After receiving many congratulatory messages on his official Facebook page, Blanco responded, saying:

Richard Blanco. Foto tomada del perfil público de Blanco en Twitter.

Richard Blanco. Photo taken from Blanco's public Twitter profile.

Para todo aquel que me ha enviado mensajes de buenos deseos, estoy escribiendo furiosamente, línea tras línea, y desearía poder responder a todos en poco tiempo. Por ahora, por favor, ayúdame a bendecir este poema. Gracias.

To everyone who has sent me messages of well-wishes, I'm writing furiously, line after line, and wish I could answer you all! In time. For now, please help me bless this poem. Thank you.

Nonetheless, the author prefers personal contact. That is how he puts it on his homepage:

En estos días de sobreabundancia de medios sociales, mi esperanza es que podamos conectar más íntimamente que a través de un tweet o un mensaje de Facebook.

In this day of social media overload, my hope is that we can connect more intimately than through a tweet or a Facebook post.

According to the inaugural committee's representative, Addie Whisenant, Obama chose Blanco because “his very personal poems are rooted in the idea of what it means to be an American.”

Penúltimos días published an excerpt of his poem, “América.”

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