Palm Beach Poetry Festival

From the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to Old School Square in Delray Beach, poetry class is in session.

Today, 44-year-old Richard Blanco, the Miami-raised son of Cuban immigrants, becomes the fifth poet ever to take part in a President's inaugural ceremony.  Blanco is scheduled to read an original poem after President Obama is sworn in for his second term.

Meanwhile, poetry fans are converging upon Delray Beach for the 9th Annual Palm Beach County Poetry Festival, which runs through Saturday.

Nico Tucci

Today, Miami poet Richard Blanco will recite the poem he has composed for President Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony.

When Richard Blanco takes the stage Monday at President Barack Obama's second inauguration, the poetry community of South Florida will be paying especially close attention.

Blanco was born to Cuban parents in Spain. The family immigrated to the United States and settled in Miami when Blanco was a toddler. He trained to be a civil engineer but a class at Florida International University later launched his poetry career.

Blanco's poetry is full of images from a childhood in South Florida and a Cuban-American household. 

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Nico Tucci

The announcement that a Miami-raised son of Cuban immigrants has been chosen as the inaugural poet for President Obama's swearing-in ceremony is causing a stir throughout South Florida.  And nowhere more than in our region's literary community.

In 1993, a young civil engineer named Richard Blanco wanted to try his hand at writing poetry.  So he took a class at Florida International University, led by English Professor Campbell McGrath.


 "This is a work of fiction," cautions the introduction to poet C.M. Clark's latest book, "Charles Deering Forecasts the Weather & Other Poems."

Whatever would Charles Deering say?
 If there's one person who can at least guess, it's Clark.   She was the very first Literary Artist-in-Residence for the Deering Estate, which stands alongside the Biltmore Hotel and Vizcaya as one of Miami-Dade's historical gems.   The estate was built in 1916 by Deering, a wealthy industrialist, and once housed one of the most extensive art collections in our region. 

Cities Of Refuge

Jun 27, 2009
Carlos Barria

Perhaps more than anyone else, writers understand the need for a safe place to pursue their craft. Unfortunately, in some countries a poem or an essay can lead to persecution, arrest, or worse.  Find out how writers like Russell Banks, Salman Rushdie and