College Symposium Presents Poet Richard Blanco

BLUE BELL PA – Richard Blanco, the fifth and youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history – as well as the first Latino, immigrant and openly gay writer to hold the honor – will be the guest speaker March 26 (2015; Thursday) during the Montgomery County Community College 2015 Presidential Symposium from 12:45 to 2:45 p.m. in its Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike.

Poet Richard Blanco

Poet Richard Blanco

The program will be simulcast to the South Hall Community Room on the college’s West Campus, 101 College Dr., Pottstown. Blanco will sign books in the Science Center Theater lobby after the lecture and a question-and-answer session. The symposium is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. For tickets, call 215-641-6518.

While living in Bethel ME, he received a phone request from President Barack Obama to serve as the fifth inaugural poet, following in the footsteps of Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. Blanco wrote the poem, “One Today,” which he read during Obama’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 21, 2013.

Born in Madrid to Cuban exiled parents, Blanco and his family immigrated to New York City while he was an infant and then moved to Miami, Florida, where he grew up in a close-knit Cuban community. He published his first book of poetry, “City of Hundred Fires,” in 1998. The book garnered the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press.

His second book, comprised of poems relating to Blanco’s journeys, was published in 2005. The book, “Directions to the Beach of the Dead,” received the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center.

In his book, “For All of Us, One Today,” published in 2013, he describes his experience as inaugural poet.

Photo from Montgomery County Community College