Richard Blanco’s childhood and adolescence were experienced between two imaginary worlds: his parents’ nostalgic world of 1950s Cuba and his imagined America, the country he saw on reruns of The Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver—an “exotic” life he yearned for as much as he yearned to see “la patria.” Navigating these worlds eventually led Blanco to question his cultural identity through words; in turn, his vision as a writer—as an artist—prompted the courage to accept himself as a gay man. In The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood, Blanco traces his poignant, often hilarious, and quintessentially American coming-of-age and the people who helped influenced him.
Richard Blanco was born in Madrid in 1968 and immigrated as an infant with his Cuban-exile family to the United States. He was raised and educated in Miami, earning a B.S. in civil engineering and a M.F.A. in creative writing from Florida International University. Blanco is practicing engineer, writer and poet, and has taught at Georgetown University, American University, Writer’s Center and Central Connecticut State University. In addition to his numerous honors and awards, in 2013 he was chosen to serve as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, becoming the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and openly gay writer to hold the honor.
Where am I from? Where do I belong? Who am I? These are the universal questions that have emerged from Richard Blanco's illuminating, story-rich poetry. Now Blanco explores these questions in this vivid account of his coming of age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his effort to contend with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities.