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October 21, 2014

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Adults : About the Book & Author

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About the Book & the Author

For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey by Richard Blanco (Beacon Press, 2013)

 

In this brief and evocative memoir, Richard Blanco tells the story of the call from the White House committee and all the exhilaration and upheaval of the days that followed. He shares his life as a Latino immigrant and openly gay man discovering a new, emotional understanding of what it means to be an American. He reveals the inspiration and challenges behind the creation of the inaugural poem, “One Today,” as well as two other poems (“What We Know of Country” and “Mother Country”) commissioned for the occasion and included in the book, with translations of all three poems into his native Spanish.

 

Finally, Blanco reflects on his spiritual embrace of Americans everywhere through the power of poetry and his vision for its new role in our nation’s consciousness. Like the inaugural poem itself, “For All of Us, One Today” speaks to what makes this country and its people great, marking a triumphant moment in American history and letters.

 

 

About the Author

 

Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco was born in Madrid in 1969, immigrating as an infant with his Cuban-exile family to the United States. He was raised and educated in Miami, earning a B.S. in civil engineering and an M.F.A. in creative writing. Blanco has been a practicing engineer, writer, poet and teacher. He currently resides in Bethel, Maine. He has published three previous collections of poetry. In 2013, Blanco was chosen to serve as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, following in the footsteps of Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Miller Williams and Elizabeth Alexander. Blanco presented “One Today,” an original poem he wrote for the occasion, becoming the youngest, first Latino, first immigrant and first openly gay writer to hold the honor.

 

Reprinted with permission from Blue Flower Arts, LLC

 

Discussion Guide

Questions for Discussion

A Conversation with Richard Blanco

Suggested Readings

Discussion Guide including the Inaugural Poem - "One Today" - pdf link

Fun Facts about Poet Laureates

 

Beginning in mid-March, a discussion guide for "For All of Us, One Today" will be available at all Seattle Public Library locations, as well as at many local bookstores. It is free to readers throughout the area. 

Background

Each year the Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library hosts a major author for a series of free programs. Everyone is invited to participate in Seattle Reads by reading the featured selection, joining in a book group discussion and attending the programs.

 

Prior to the author's visit, we develop background material and study guides, and host a series of programs, panel discussions, film screenings, staged readings, and other events around the themes of the featured work.

 

About 'Seattle Reads'

"Seattle Reads" is designed to deepen engagement in literature through reading and discussion. Seattle Reads “For All of Us, One Today” is made possible by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and The Wallace Foundation, with additional support from media sponsors The Seattle Times and KUOW 94.9 Public Radio, and Beacon Press, The Elliott Bay Book Co., and University Book Store.

What has Seattle read in years past?

For details, see Previous Years' Featured Works.

Seattle Reads
2014 Seattle Reads: 'For All of Us, One Today' by Richard Blanco
Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library