Monday, February 18, 2013

Master Poet: Spotlight February 2013

 
 
INAUGURAL POET
 
 
 
Richard Blanco was made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, and imported to the United States—meaning his mother, seven months pregnant, and the rest of the family arrived as exiles from Cuba to Madrid where he was born. Only forty-five days later, the family emigrated once more and settled in New York City, then eventually in Miami where he was raised and educated.

His acclaimed first book of poetry,
City of a Hundred Fires, explores the yearnings and negotiation of cultural identity as a Cuban-American, and received the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press. His second book, Directions to The Beach of the Dead, won the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center for its continued exploration of the universal themes of cultural identity and homecoming. A third collection, Looking for The Gulf Motel, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2012.

His poems have appeared in top literary journals including, The Nation, the New Republic, Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly Review, and TriQuarterly Review; and several anthologies including, The Best American Poetry, Great American Prose Poems, Breadloaf Anthology of New American Poets, and American Poetry: The Next Generation. 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.

Blanco is recipient of two Florida Artist Fellowships, a Residency Fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and is a John Ciardi Fellow of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. A builder of cities as well as poems, he holds a bachelors of science degree in Civil Engineering and a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

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