Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco On Identity, Art And Fame

Poet Richard Blanco with President Obama

President Barack Obama and Richard Blanco look at a framed copy of 'One Today,' in the Oval Office, May 20, 2013.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Richard Blanco likes to say that he was made in Cuba, assembled in Spain and imported to the United States. The writer served as the country's fifth inaugural poet at President Barack Obama's 2013 inauguration – an assignment that forced him to confront some long-standing questions about his own identity. 

Blanco says when the White House called, he immediately had an image in his mind of the poem that would become, "One Today." The experience, he says, changed his life and helped him answer a question he'd wrestled with since childhood: Are you American? 

Blanco's latest books include "For All of Us Today: An Inaugural Poet's Journey." He was on the University of Illinois Urbana campus for a reading and book signing Tuesday night.

Ahead of the event, he spoke with Illinois Public Media's Scott Cameron about his ongoing search for a place to call "home."

Story source: WILL