Richard Blanco — gay, Latino poet — chosen for inauguration






For years, whenever I visited my mom in Miami, she’d casually mention a friend she ran into now and then whom, she said, also had a child who’s a poet. I don’t actually identify much as a poet — I’m much too in awe of real poets to do more than dip a toe in — but I didn’t go out of my way to mention this. What I soon realized was that her friend’s offspring and I shared several attributes not often sources of pride in our families, and what she and her friend shared, I think, was a way of being relaxed and happy about their queer Cuban children and their writing — in both cases, in a language different than theirs.

Several years ago, long after we’d met — though I don’t remember where we met, exactly, somewhere writerly or Cuban or both — Richard Blanco and I were at a bar here in Chicago during an AWP event and he said, “You know your mom’s friend is my mom, right?”

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.

Read the rest…

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