Poet Richard Blanco, a son of Cuban exiles who lived and studied in Miami, has been chosen as the inaugural poet for President Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony later this month.
The inaugural committee announced the choice on Wednesday.
In many ways, this is the very stuff of the American Dream, which underlies so much of my work and my lifes storyAmericas story, really," Blanco said. "I am thrilled by the thought of coming together during this great occasion to celebrate our country and its people through the power of poetry.
Blanco was born in Spain after his family left Cuba in 1968, and emigrated with his parents to New York as an infant. He eventually settled in South Florida and began a career as an engineer while pursuing his interest in poetry. Before leaving South Florida in 1999, he took writing classes at Florida International University. He has taught writing at a Connecticut college and now lives in Maine.
Blanco is the first Hispanic and gay person to recite a poem at the inaugural ceremony. His poetry career blossomed when his first collection, City of a Hundred Fires, won a prize from the University of Pittsburgh. He published his third collection of poems last year.
Blanco's mother was a bank teller and his father a bookkeeper during his years in Miami, according to a profile in The New York Times.
Obama will be inaugurated for his second term on Jan. 21.