Poet Richard Blanco kicks off inaugural Watauga Lyceum Series

Wednesday, April 17, 2019
7:30 p.m.
Blue Ridge Ballroom, Plemmons Student Union

This event is open to the campus and community.

Richard Blanco was selected by President Obama as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, and is the youngest and the first Latino, immigrant and gay individual to serve in such a role. He will perform a reading of a selection of his work as the first speaker in the newly founded Watauga Lyceum Series, formed by Watauga Residential College, housed in the Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies at Appalachian State University.

Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity characterizes his three collections of poetry: “City of a Hundred Fires,” which received the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press; “Directions to The Beach of the Dead,” recipient of the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center and “Looking for The Gulf Motel,” recipient of the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award.

He has also authored the memoirs “For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey” and “The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood,” which won a Lambda Literary Award. His inaugural poem “One Today” was published as a children’s book, in collaboration with renowned illustrator Dav Pilkey in 2015. His latest book, “Boundaries,” a collaboration with photographer Jacob Hessler, challenges the physical and psychological dividing lines that shadow the United States.

His latest book of poems, “How to Love a Country,” is forthcoming from Beacon Press in April 2019. Blanco has written occasional poems for the re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, Freedom to Marry, the Tech Awards of Silicon Valley and the Boston Strong benefit concert following the Boston Marathon bombings. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has received numerous honorary doctorates. He has taught at Georgetown University, American University and Wesleyan University. He currently serves as the first Education Ambassador for The Academy of American Poets.

Sponsors of the Watauga Lyceum Series include the Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies, Watauga Residential College, the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, the Department of English and the College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian.


About the Watauga Residential College at Appalachian
The Watauga Residential College is a specialized academic program where classes are discussion-based seminars that allow students to pursue topics of interest to them within the context of the class. This program provides an unusual opportunity for students to become engaged in learning at a deep level through class discussions and research projects. Watauga classes are interdisciplinary and this approach to learning requires students to integrate knowledge from a variety of disciplines to gain a complete perspective on a topic.

About the Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies
The Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies offers degrees in global studies, interdisciplinary studies, and gender, women’s and sexuality studies. The department is also home to Watauga Residential College, an interdisciplinary, alternative general education program. The department promotes creative and imaginative engagement in cross-disciplinary investigation of complex systems and problems. Learn more at https://cgg.appstate.edu.

About the Department of English
The Department of English at Appalachian State University is committed to outstanding work in the classroom, the support and mentorship of students, and a dynamic engagement with culture, history, language, theory and literature. The department offers master’s degrees in English and rhetoric and composition, as well as undergraduate degrees in literary studies, film studies, creative writing, professional writing and English education. Learn more at https://english.appstate.edu.

About the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
The Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures offers courses that enhance students’ understanding of other cultures and languages as well as their own, making them prepared for lifelong learning in a multicultural world. Learn more at https://dllc.appstate.edu.

About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.

Richard Blanco headshot
Published: Mar 28, 2019 10:54am