inauguration

richard-blanco.com

When Richard Blanco got the call that he'd been chosen to write a poem for President Obama's second inauguration, at first he thought it was a prank. He still has no idea how he ended up on the President's radar.

"I would dream actually that the President has actually read my work and was so moved by it," says Blanco, laughing, "that he said, 'I want this guy to read a poem at the inaugural.'"

Is Florida Driving Us Crazy?

Jan 25, 2013
JASElabs

On the Florida Roundup: From immigration reform to gay rights, we’ll discuss how the president’s inauguration speech resonated here.  

The Dolphins win the first battle in their fight for public funding to renovate Sun Life Stadium, with the Miami-Dade County Commission agreeing to ask the state for an increase in the hotel tax.  But Florida state lawmakers might not be receptive.

Ohmega1982 / freedigitalphotos.net

Richard Blanco wasn't the only poet to pen a line for President Barack Obama's second inauguration. Last week, our partners at The Takeaway asked for your help writing a poem for the inauguration. 

Poet Kwame Dawes wrote the first line--"Say 'nation.' In the Wake of quarrels, say 'hope'"--and the audience tweeted the rest of the lines.

Christine DiMattei

In recent years, parallels have often been drawn between South Florida's diverse population and the multi-cultural America that President Obama will be presiding over for a second term.  But some South Floridians feel that cooperation between various racial and cultural groups is still a work in progress.

Among the hundreds of who filed into the Adrienne Arsht Center Monday to watch a live simulcast of President Obama's inauguration was Janette Kemp of Tamarac.  She says that when it comes to multiculturalism, our region has more work to do.

What Martin Luther King Day Means To Diverse South Florida

Jan 21, 2013
Arianna Prothero

    

People across South Florida's diverse communities and cultures marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year is also the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

More than 100 people gathered at Lakeview Elementary in North Miami to celebrate MLK Day. Brent McLaughlin, executive director of Branches, one of the non profits that put on the event, said people who grew up in the United States sometimes take Dr. King's message for granted.

Photo by Michael Upright

Richard Blanco is home now, back in Miami after a six-year journey that launched the award-winning poet and FIU double-graduate into what was supposed to be the “real America.”

“The great prodigal return,” he calls it, the irony evident in his voice – not only about the places he’s been, but about the place he’s come back to. The journey has shaped much of Blanco’s recent poetry, and his evolving sense of identity as a writer, as the son of Cuban immigrants and as an American.

Sarah Gonzalez

In his inaugural benediction, Cuban-born Rev. Luis León spoke to all Americans, disregarding lines of race, economic standing and sexuality.

"We pray that you will bless us with your continued presence, because without it, hatred and arrogance will infect our hearts," he said before hundreds of thousands of people Monday. "But with your blessing, we know that we can break down the walls that separate us."

rc! / Flickr

Richard Blanco's inaugural poem, One Today, may have addressed the whole nation, but the details were full of South Florida. 

A father's hands callused by cutting sugar cane, a mother who taught Blanco to speak Spanish--these are some of the personal details that worked their way into the poem.

Blanco is the son of Cuban exiles. He was born in Spain and came to Miami as a small child. His poetry draws on images of a childhood spent in a tight-knit South Florida Cuban community.

Richard-Blanco.com

Richard Blanco will likely be Florida International University's most talked-about graduate today.

The 44-year-old is the youngest, first openly gay and first Hispanic inaugural poet.

Blanco has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from FIU as well as a Masters of Fine Arts from FIU's creative writing program.

If it seems like Blanco came out of nowhere, author and Virginia Tech professor Ed Falco begs to differ.

"Well FIU, first of all," he said, "has one of the best poetry programs in the country."