Richard Blanco set to visit for annual NWFSC Reads

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
Richard Blanco to read his poetry at NWFSC.

Richard Blanco, the first Latino immigrant poet chosen to read at a presidential inauguration and one of the most beloved and influential poets and storytellers writing today, will be the featured Distinguished Author at Northwest Florida State College's annual NWFSC Reads.

Blanco will present readings from his works at 7 p.m. April 20 in the Sprint Theater at the college's Mattie Kelly Arts Center on the Niceville campus. The event is free of charge, and all seating is on a first-come basis. Doors to the Sprint Theater will open at 6:45 p.m. The event is part of a week-long emphasis on literary topics, NWFSC Reads, which is sponsored annually by the college's English Department.

Blanco read his inaugural poem, “One Today,” on Jan. 21, 2013, following in the footsteps of previous inaugural poets Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Miller Williams and Elizabeth Alexander. Born in Madrid in 1968 as the son of Cuban-exile parents, Blanco immigrated as an infant to the United States. He recently published his memoir, “The Prince of los Cocuyos,” about his childhood in Miami. Blanco has authored three award-winning collections of poetry, “City of a Hundred Fires,” “Directions to the Beach of the Dead” and “Looking for the Gulf Motel,” as well as other books.

Immediately preceding Blanco's reading on April 20, additional events will take place from 5:45-6:45 p.m. in the adjoining Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries, including a welcome reception, student readings, and the unveiling of the student art selected for the cover of the college’s literary and arts journal, “Blackwater Review.” All of the evening’s events are free and open to the public.