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Richard Blanco To Read New Poem At Re-Opening Of U.S. Embassy In Cuba

Richard Blanco says the ocean that separates the U.S. and Cuba was the inspiration for the ceremonial poem
Richard Blanco says the ocean that separates the U.S. and Cuba was the inspiration for the ceremonial poem
Richard Blanco says the ocean that separates the U.S. and Cuba was the inspiration for the ceremonial poem
Credit Joyce Tenneson
Richard Blanco says the ocean that separates the U.S. and Cuba was the inspiration for the ceremonial poem

When President Obama was sworn into office for his second term in January 2013, it was Miami-raised writer Richard Blanco who read the inaugural poem.

He was the first Latino and first openly gay inaugural poet in U.S.  history. And now Blanco, a child of Cuban immigrants, will put his poetic stamp on another historic event -- the re-opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba.

Blanco, now a resident of Maine, was chosen to read his new poem during the re-opening ceremony before a crowd of Cuban officials and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

LISTEN: An interview with Richard Blanco on the re-opening of Cuba's U.S. embassy.

For Blanco, the new U.S. policy of normalization with Cuba, and the prospect of reading his poetry there, evokes deep emotions.

"The inauguration was amazing and beautiful, but this is right to the gut," says 47-year-old Blanco. "I thought this would never happen in my lifetime."

Blanco is the author of "The Prince of Los Cocuyos," a memoir about his childhood in Miami. He's also co-creator of the blog project,  Bridges to/from Cuba: Lifting the Emotional Embargo .

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