Poet and Maine resident Richard Blanco’s work grapples with lots of weighty, difficult topics, from racism and homophobia to love and death.
But at the heart of it all is the complex, compelling, beautiful and often heartbreaking experience of being an American.
Blanco, who is most famous for being the inaugural poet at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, spoke about many things, including what it means to be an American, at a Dirigo Speaks event hosted by the Bangor Daily News and Launchpad on Tuesday at the Bangor Arts Exchange. Blanco is a first-generation American from a working-class Cuban immigrant family.
The event, themed to the upcoming Independence Day, featured Blanco reading poems from across his career, including works from his latest book, “How To Love a Country,” published in March of this year.
“I was made in Cuba, assembled in Madrid and then imported to the U.S.,” Blanco said. “I have been asking these questions since I was a child.”
Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.
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