Obama’s poet in Limerick writer residency

Richard Blanco, a poet favoured by Barack Obama, is coming to Limerick for a two-week residency for City of Culture
AMERICAN literary star Richard Blanco will be coming to live in Limerick as a writer-in-residence, as part of Limerick City of Culture 2014.

AMERICAN literary star Richard Blanco will be coming to live in Limerick as a writer-in-residence, as part of Limerick City of Culture 2014.

Blanco was chosen by US President Barack Obama as one of his inaugural poets in 2012, following in the footsteps of luminary American writers Maya Angelou and Robert Frost.

Blanco is the youngest, first Latino, and openly gay writer to hold this honour and was chosen as Obama believed the poet’s “deeply personal poems are rooted in the idea of what it means to be an American.” He will take up residency in Limerick for a brief period this summer, from August 25 to September 8.

“I am thrilled to be Limerick City of Culture’s writer in residence and visit Ireland for the very first time,” he said. “I’m very much looking forward to discovering its ancient landscape and meet and work with the people of Limerick and beyond, and share in the universal language of poetry.

Limerick City of Culture director Mike Fitzpatrick explained that during his two week residency Blanco will host work-shops with aspiring writers, visit schools and community groups and give talks and lectures.

“This will be a fantastic opportunity for Irish audiences to hear a major American literary figure in person. Richard Blanco’s poetry negotiates the idea of cultural identity and the universal themes of place and belonging. Concepts that are very relevant in modern day Ireland and indeed Limerick,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.

Blanco’s profile has soared since he wrote a poem for Obama, entitled One Today, which he read at the inauguration ceremony in Washington DC in January 2013. Since then, he has given up his profession as a civil engineer to concentrate on writing full time. His first public engagement will be a reading in the Granary Library Limerick City on Thursday, August 28 at 8pm. Admission is free.