Vermont Press Releases

Vermont Humanities Council: Inaugural poet Richard Blanco to speak at Middlebury College

News Release — Vermont Humanities Council
October 15, 2015

Jeff Euber, Communications Assistant, 802.262.1353

Part of First Wednesdays at Middlebury’s Ilsley Public Library: A Free Lecture Presented by Vermont Humanities Council

Middlebury ~ Presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco will discuss identity and belonging in a talk at Middlebury College’s Mead Chapel on November 4 at 7:00 pm. His talk, “Becoming American: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey,” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public. The talk is presented with Middlebury College.

Blanco read at President Obama’s second inauguration, the first Latino, immigrant, and gay writer to have such an honor. In his talk, Blanco will examine cultural identity and the essence of place and belonging.

Blanco is the fifth inaugural poet in US history. Born in Madrid to Cuban exiled parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his three collections of poetry: City of a Hundred Fires, Directions to The Beach of the Dead, and Looking for The Gulf Motel. His awards include: the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center, the Paterson Poetry Prize, and the Thom Gunn Award. He has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. He holds a BS in Civil Engineering and an MFA in Creative Writing, and currently lives in Bethel, Maine. A memoir of his childhood in Miami, The Prince of Los Cocuyos, was published in September 2014 by Ecco/Harper Collins.


The Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays series is held on the first Wednesday of every month from October through May in nine communities statewide, featuring speakers of national and regional renown. Talks in Middlebury are held at Ilsley Public Library unless otherwise noted. All First Wednesdays talks are free and open to the public.

Upcoming talks in Middlebury include “Reading Homer with Veterans: Narratives of Return and Rage” with Dartmouth Classics professor Roberta Stewart on December 2; “Defense of the West” with Middlebury College visiting scholar Stanley R. Sloan on January 6; and “Shakespeare in America” with Columbia University professor James Shapiro on February 3.

The National Life Group Foundation and the Vermont Department of Libraries are the statewide underwriters of First Wednesdays. The First Wednesdays 2015-16 series in Middlebury is underwritten by The Residence at Otter Creek and The Residence at Shelburne Bay.

“Becoming American” is a Latino Americans: 500 Years of History program, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA) as part of an NEH initiative, The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square.

Ilsley Public Library is sponsored by Friends of Ilsley Library.

Middlebury First Wednesdays listing

First Wednesdays Brochure for all sites

For more information, contact the Ilsley Public Library at 802.388.4095 or contact the Vermont Humanities Council at 802.262.2626 or [email protected], or visit

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