Richard Blanco to speak at Universalist Church

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The First Universalist Church of West Paris will hold a special worship service on Jan. 28, 2018 at 9 a.m. with poet Richard Blanco. His topic is “Imaginary Homelands and Boundaries,” which will include several readings of his poems and a visual presentation about home, growing up in an immigrant family, finding oneself.

U.S. Presidential Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco was selected by President Obama as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history. He 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 Pittsburgh 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 also 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 Prize. His inaugural poem “One Today” was published as a children’s book, in collaboration with renowned illustrator Dav Pilkey.

His latest book, “Boundaries,” a collaboration with photographer Jacob Hessler, challenges the physical and psychological dividing lines that shadow the United States. Blanco has written occasional poems for the re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, Freedom to Marry, the Tech Awards of Silicon Valley and the Boston Strong benefit concert following the Boston Marathon bombings. 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.

The First Universalist Church is located at 208 Main St., W. Paris. For more information about the church and services, please contact Marta Clements at 674-2143 and mclements96894@roadrunner.com or Bob Clifford at 674-3442 and bobarlen@megalink.net. To learn more about Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, please visit http://www.uua.org.

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