Inaugural poet Blanco reads at Hutchinson

May 18, 2019
Richard Blanco

BELFAST — Celebrating the union of diversity, imagery and poetry, the public is warmly invited to attend a free talk and reading by internationally acclaimed poet, Richard Blanco, on Saturday, June 8, at 5:30 p.m., at the Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Ave., Belfast. Subsequently, Blanco will be available to sign copies of his books, to include his latest, “How to Love a Country.”

In 2013, President Barack Obama selected Blanco to serve as the fifth presidential inaugural poet, joining the ranks of such luminary poets as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou, when he read his poem, “One Today.”

Richard Blanco’s mother, seven months pregnant, and the rest of the family arrived as exiles from Cuba to Spain, where he was born. Forty-five days later, the family immigrated once more to New York City, and eventually settled in Miami. Only a few weeks old, Blanco already belonged to three countries, a foreshadowing of the negotiations of cultural identity, community and belonging that would shape his life and continue to inform his work.

As the first Education Ambassador for the Academy of American Poets, Blanco writes lesson plans for the Academy, visits students at all grade levels, and conducts workshops for educators on innovative ways to teach poetry. In that capacity, Blanco will also conduct a Craft Workshop, entitled, “Using the Five Senses in Poetry,” for fifth graders at the Walker Memorial School in Liberty.

Sponsors of this event are the Maine Chapter of the Fulbright Association, the University of Maine Hutchinson Center, Left Bank Books in Belfast, as well as several anonymous donors. Community partners include the Belfast Free Library, Belfast Historical Society, Belfast Chamber of Commerce, Belfast Creative Coalition, Our Town Belfast, and Waterfall Arts — which will be open to the community on Saturday, June 8, from 12 to 4 p.m. to feature a new exhibition, “O, Horizon.”

Doors open at 5 p.m. at the Hutchinson Center, Walsh Wing. This event is free and open to the public. General seating. For more information about Blanco and his work, visit richard-blanco.com. For event information or to request a reasonable accommodation, email nancy.bergerson@maine.edu.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Christine Dunkle can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 108; or arts@villagesoup.com.

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