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Blanco to give Gould Commencement address

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  • Richard Blanco, best known for creating and reading his original work, One Day, at President Obama’s second inauguration ceremony in 2013, will deliver the commencement address at Gould Academy’s 179th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, June 6, 2015.

    The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Gould’s Alumni Field and is open to the public. Richard Blanco is the fifth inaugural poet in US history – the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban-exiled parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his body of work. He is the author of the memoirs The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey; the poetry chapbooks One Today and Boston Strong; and the poetry collections Looking for the Gulf Motel, Directions to the Beach of the Dead, and City of a Hundred Fires. Currently, he is collaborating with renowned illustrator Dav Pilkey on a children’s book of his poem One Today.

    Blanco’s many awards include the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center, the Paterson Poetry Prize, and the Thom Gunn Award. A builder of cities as well as poems, Blanco holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.F.A in Creative Writing. He has received numerous honors for his writings and performances, including honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College, and the University of Rhode Island, and has been named a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. He has taught at Central Connecticut State University, Georgetown University, and American University. Blanco splits his time between Bethel and Boston,

    Mass.

    “Richard Blanco represents with great honor so much of what we value at Gould Academy,” said Head of School Matt Ruby. “We look forward to welcoming him back to our campus and to hearing the insights he will provide to our graduating class.”

    In 2013 Blanco partnered with Gould Academy to create The Richard Blanco Visiting Writers Program and Retreat, which brings living writers back to the school and Bethel area in an effort to build student and community appreciation for contemporary poetry.

    “Part of what I learned over the process of being the inaugural poet was that we as a country need to continue to create new generations of readers and appreciators of poetry,” Blanco says of the program. “Through contact with contemporary work and contemporary authors, my hope is that students at Gould Academy can develop that appreciation and understand that poetry, just like any art, is still vibrant and alive today – one that can teach us about ourselves and about the world.”

    More information about Gould Academy’s commencement will be forthcoming. More information on Richard Blanco can be found at richard-blanco.com.

    Gould Academy is a coed college preparatory school located at the eastern edge of the White Mountains in Bethel, Maine. With 240 students from an average of 19 states and 19 countries, Gould prepares academically motivated students for college and helps them to become independent-minded, ethical citizens who will lead lives of purpose, action, excellence, and compassion in a dynamic world. Visit gouldacademy.org for more information.

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