Annual Lectures

Prize-Winning Poet Richard Blanco Coming to Boise

Boise, Thursday, September 19

Prize-Winning Poet Richard Blanco to Speak in Boise in September

Historic presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco will deliver the Idaho Humanities Council’s 23rd Annual Distinguished Humanities Lecture on Thursday, September 19, 7:00 p.m., at Boise Centre West. Blanco is one of the most beloved and influential poets and storytellers writing today.

Tickets are available by clicking HERE or by calling the IHC at (208) 345-5346. General tickets are $65 and Benefactor tickets are $130. Benefactors are invited to a private pre-event reception with Blanco at 5:00 p.m. The evening will begin with a no-host reception and silent auction at 6 p.m. at Boise Centre West. Dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m., with Blanco’s talk to follow. Blanco’s books will be available from Rediscovered Books for signing afterwards. 

The event is made possible in part by support from Holland & HartBoise State UniversityIdaho State University, Idaho Public Television, and Boise State Public Radio

Selected by President Obama as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. History, Richard Blanco is the youngest and the first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. 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 Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburg 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 authored the memoirs For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey and the Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood, winner of the Lambda Literary Award. His inaugural poem “One Today” was published as a children’s book, in collaboration with renowned illustrator Dav Pilkey.

Blanco’s latest book of poems, How to Love a Country, both interrogates the American narrative, past and present, and celebrates the still unkept promise of its ideals. In this new collection of poems, his first in over seven years, Blanco continues to invite a conversation with all Americans. Through an oracular yet intimate and accessible voice, he addresses the complexities and contradictions of our nationhood and the unresolved sociopolitical matters that affect us all.

He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has received numerous honorary doctorates. He has taught at Georgetown University, American University, and Wesleyan University. He serves as the first Education Ambassador for The Academy of American Poets.

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Since 1997, the IHC has brought top historians, journalists, novelists, and other writers to Boise for the Council’s annual event. Previous speakers have included such luminaries as Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, novelist John Updike, NewsHour anchor and author Jim Lehrer, presidential historian Michael Beschloss, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham, and author, journalist, and columnist Anna Quindlen.

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How to Love a Country (002)
The Prince of los Cocuyos