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Presidential Inauguration Poet shares insights, poetry at SAU

Richard Blanco with Ted Wojtasik and Ron Bayes

The 2013 Presidential Inauguration Poet Richard Blanco, left, converses with Dr. Ted Wojtasik and Ron Bayes following the Writers' Forum on Feb. 28

Inauguration Poet Richard Blanco

The 2013 Presidential Inauguration Poet Richard Blanco reading in the Belk Main Lounge during the St. Andrews Writers' Forum Feb. 28.
 

Laurinburg, N.C. - The 2013 Presidential Inauguration Poet Richard Blanco shared stories, insights and poetry during his appearance at the St. Andrews University Writers’ Forum on Thursday evening.

"It is nice to be back at St. Andrews,” Blanco said. “I've been coming for close to 15 years and it feels a little bit like home. It is nice to see new faces and the next generation of students."

Blanco shared several poems that he considered to be ancestors of the poem he read at the Inauguration in January.

"Although I got the (Inauguration) assignment on Dec. 12, I have been writing about America for a long time,” he said. “I am going to share the first poem I wrote for my first graduate course for my first assignment. The assignment - write a poem about America."

The poem, America, centered on his Thanksgiving experience growing up in a Cuban American home.

“One of the things about growing up between two cultures is, on one hand, you parents want you to be a part of the culture they left,” he said. “At the same time, they want to protect you and have you be a part of the culture you are living in.”

The theme continued through additional selections spanning his writing career through the Inauguration poem, One Today.

“Writing this poem was unlike any other process,” Blanco said. “I had to write three. The first poem was pretty easy and it took about two days. The second was absolute hell. I felt like I had nothing left to give. It was four days and there is just a moment when something happens. I had to do an extreme stream of consciousness, sitting down at my computer and writing everything that came into my head. Out of that came the line ‘One sun rose upon us today’ and that was the moment when I knew something had happened. There is something special about the muse.

“The third poem was rather easy and it was one I could write for me and I love it, but it just wasn’t right for the occasion,” he continued.

When asked what he will be doing moving forward, Blanco smiled.

"I'll be doing a lot of readings,” he said. “This kind of exposure opens up spotlights on poetry. It gives an opportunity to give back. I would like to find out where the disconnect in poetry is in America. I want to go to the middle schools and high schools because they aren’t exposed to a lot of contemporary poets at that level. I think they are having trouble relating to the classics and I want to help create a new generation of readers of poetry and writers of poetry."

For more information about the Writers' Forum, creative writing or the St. Andrews Press, call 910-277-5310 or email press@sapc.edu.

About St. Andrews University

St. Andrews is a student and teaching-focused University which offers a broad range of undergraduate majors in a curriculum that is global in scope and practical in its application. St. Andrews has added a first graduate level program with a Masters in Business Administration. The quality of the St. Andrews educational experience has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and GI Jobs among others. In addition to its academic programs, the University has an acclaimed university press, men’s and women’s athletic teams, a nationally competitive equestrian program, and an award-winning pipe band. St. Andrews is a branch of Webber International University, Florida. Further information may be obtained by visiting the University’s website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198, or sending an e-mail to info@sapc.edu.

 

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