The Writer’s Block: A Q&A with Richard Blanco
Richard Blanco is a historic inaugural poet, public speaker, teacher, memoirist, and engineer. Of Cuban ethnicity but born in Spain and raised in the United States, Blanco’s national identity is Cuban, Spanish, and American all at once. In addition to being an civil engineer, Blanco is the author of multiple books of poetry and memoirs about his journey as a child of immigrants and to discovering his artistic and sexual identities. In 2012, Blanco delivered the inaugural poem, “One Today,” at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. He is also well-known for his other occasional poems, including “Boston Strong” following the Boston Marathon bombing and “One Pulse” after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. His most recent project is a blog, Bridges to/From Cuba: Lifting the Emotional Embargo, co-created with Ruth Baher. In his work, Blanco explores his own specific and complicated identities as a means of asking universal questions about identity, belonging, and home.
Sampsonia Way sat down with Blanco to talk about his obsessions, how he navigates representation across demographics, and his writing process.