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 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