The Presidential Inaugural Committee today announced Richard Blanco, a Latino gay man and immigrant as the inaugural poet for the president's swearing-in January 21. Blanco will be the youngest-ever inaugural poet, the first Latino, and the first LGBT person to read a poem at the inauguration, according to the committee's announcement.
Blanco, who lives in Maine with his partner, told The New York Times he has long identified with numerous aspects of President Obama's journey to prominence.
"Since the beginning of the campaign, I totally related to his life story and the way he speaks of his family, and of course his multicultural background," Blanco, who was born to Cuban parents in Spain, then raised and educated in Miami, told the Times. "There has always been a spiritual connection in that sense. I feel in some ways that when I'm writing about my family, I'm writing about him."
Blanco, 44, will compose an original poem to read at the inauguration ceremony January 21, the day after the president takes the oath of office as required by the Constitution. Blanco will be the nation's fifth inaugural poet, reports the Times; others include Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
Obama's inaugural celebration will also include performances by Beyoncé, who will sing the national anthem; Kelly Clarkson, who will sing "My Country 'Tis of Thee"; and James Taylor, who will perform "America The Beautiful," according to the Associated Press.