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Inaugural Poet Represents Several Groups Key To President's Reelection

Richard Blanco
Richard Blanco

January 21, 2013 | WMFE - Miami poet Richard Blanco read the poem he composed for President Obama's inauguration ceremony today. Blanco is the first Hispanic to be chosen as an inaugural poet and represents several groups that helped give the President a second term in office.

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Richard Blanco's mother was seven months pregnant with him when the family arrived in Spain from Cuba in the late 1960s.

45 days after Blanco was born, the family moved to the U.S. and eventually settled in Miami.

Blanco's duel heritage is a theme throughout much of his poetry.

In a 2008 interview with WLRN TV in Miami, Blanco said it wasn't until adulthood that he started to value his cultural background.

“Negotiating where you fit into that space. To suddenly realize this irony that you think you're just as normal as everybody else around you, which you are because everybody else is Cuban, and you realize, 'Oh my God, I'm not American' or like, ‘I wasn't as American as the Brady Bunch."

Not only is Blanco the first Hispanic inaugural poet, he is also the first gay inaugural poet, and the youngest.

Charles Zelden teaches legal and constitutional history at Nova Southeastern University. He says Blanco's invitation to read his poetry during the inaugural ceremony is a way for the Obama administration to celebrate those groups.

"I think the President is representing three of the important constituents that not only got him into office but that he seeks to work with in the coming second term which would be young people, gay people and immigrants."

Zelden says the fact that Blanco is from Florida could also be a nod toward the large swing state that, in the end, went for Obama in the last election.


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