On Wednesday the president’s inaugural planners announced poet Richard Blanco will be the 2013 inaugural poet. Blanco will become the fifth poet in history to read an official inauguration poem and the first Latino and openly-gay poet to be given the honor.
The biography posted on Blanco’s website identifies him as a Cuban-American. The bio also notes the 44-year-old poet was conceived in Cuba, born in Spain and “imported” to the U.S. when he was only 45-days old. Blanco was raised in Miami by his mother who was a bank teller and his father, a bookkeeper.
President Obama picked Blanco because the poet’s “deeply personal poems are rooted in the idea of what it means to be an American,” according to an inaugural committee spokeswoman who spoke to the New York Times.
Blanco says he feels a connection to the President also.
“Since the beginning of the campaign, I totally related to his life story and the way he speaks of his family, and of course his multicultural background,” Blanco told the NYT. “There has always been a spiritual connection in that sense. I feel in some ways that when I’m writing about my family, I’m writing about him.”
Blanco lives in Bethel, Maine with his partner. He has less than two weeks to compose an original poem for the president’s ceremonial swearing-in on the steps of the Capitol on Jan. 21.