Poet Richard Blanco reads at UMaine Hutchinson Center

Celebrating the union of diversity, imagery and poetry, internationally acclaimed poet Richard Blanco will give a free public talk and reading on Saturday, June 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast.

Blanco also will sign copies of his books, including his latest, “How to Love a Country.”

In 2013, President Barack Obama selected Blanco to serve as the fifth presidential inaugural poet, joining the ranks of such luminaries as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou when he read his poem, “One Today.”

Blanco’s mother was seven months pregnant when she and his family arrived as exiles from Cuba to Spain, where he was born. Forty-five days later, the family immigrated to New York City and eventually settled in Miami. The three countries foreshadowed the negotiations of cultural identity, community and belonging that would shape Blanco’s life and continue to inform his work.

As the first education ambassador for the Academy of American Poets, Blanco writes lesson plans, visits students at all grade levels and conducts workshops for educators on innovative ways to teach poetry.

Sponsors of the June 8 event include the Maine Chapter of the Fulbright Association, the Hutchinson Center, Left Bank Books of Belfast and several anonymous donors. Community partners include the Belfast Free Library, Belfast Historical Society, Belfast Chamber of Commerce, Belfast Creative Coalition, Our Town Belfast and Waterfall Arts.

Doors open at 5 p.m. More information about Blanco and his work is online: richard- blanco.com. For event information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Nancy Bergerson,nancy.bergerson@maine.edu.