Event Report – Richard Blanco

On January 22, 2009, Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco read to an audience of about 40 people in Soderberg Auditorium for the inaugural event of the Spring 2009 schedule. Steve Evans introduced the poet, who read for about 50 minutes from his two books City of a Hundred Fires and Directions to the Beach of the Dead. Afterward, Blanco fielded questions from audience members.

Poet Richard Blanco

Poet Richard Blanco

For more photographs, visit the NWS Flickr page here. Artist John Bailly’s pictures from the event are on Facebook here.

An mp3 recording was made using an Audio-technical condenser Lo-Z AT835b microphone attached to a Marantz PMD660 Portable Solid State Recorder. The event was also recorded on digital video tape.

*
Introduction by Steve Evans

Richard Blanco
from City of a Hundred Fires
1. Mango, Number 61
2. Mother Picking Produce
3. Shaving
4. Havanasis
5. Varadero en Alba

from Directions to the Beach of the Dead
6. We’re Not Going to Malta…
7. Winter of the Volcanoes: Guatemala
8. Papa’s Bridge
9. When I Was a Little Cuban Boy
10. Mexican Almuerzo in New England
11. untitled ‘memoir’ piece (in progress)

Questions
1. What pulled you to both engineering and English/ poetry?
2. How does your Spanish/ English brain line up with your Engineering/ Poetry brain?
3. When you read to a Cuban or Cuban-American audience, how do they respond to your work (when the work deals with Cuban subject matter)?
4. Have you experienced any backlash from the Cuban community for using the Spanish language and Cuban experience in your work?
5. I noticed that politics doesn’t seem to crop up in your work; do you write political poems in relation to Cuba?
6. As you travel, do you find that you write in the moment, or let the experience sit and resonate before you go back to write?
7. Do you think of Cuba as your ultimate home, and/ or do you still feel in a way displaced?
8. Have you written about Miami at all?
9. Have you found others who are first generation Americans like yourself who also feel continually displaced? Do you find it is a common feeling among first generation Americans of a situation similar to yours?

Reading report and set list by Katie Lattari. Photographs by Steve Evans.

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