Welcome Home, Richard Blanco
Before the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, people in his home town of Bethel, Maine did not realize Richard Blanco was a poet.
“I’ve never come out of the poetry closet in Bethel for some reason,” quipped Richard Blanco to members of the community. “I was waiting for the right time, and, boy, what a way to come out. So, here we are.”
Blanco spoke before a full Bingham Auditorium at Gould Academy, where the Bethel community welcomed the poet home after a busy couple of months of writing, interviews and more interviews.
He was launched into the public spotlight in January when chosen by President Barack Obama as the 2013 Inaugural Poet, a distinction he now shares with Maya Angelou and Robert Frost.
(A quick Google search of Richard Blanco Inaugural Poet will give you an idea of just how busy he’s been.)
The town of Bethel, its businesses, organizations and members quickly pulled together an event that celebrated Blanco upon his homecoming.
In return he treated us with a generous reading of poems from his last three books, complete with introductions, anecdotes, a Q&A session, and a book signing.
The result was a memorable evening of laughter, phenomenal and accessible poetry, community, and the collective understanding that just about anything can happen in Bethel, Maine.
Please enjoy his opening remarks and a few poems from the evening below.