Richard Blanco


Richard Blanco is the fifth presidential inaugural poet in U.S. history—the youngest, 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 and place characterize his body of work. He is the author of the poetry collections Looking for the Gulf Motel, Directions to the Beach of the Dead, and City of a Hundred Fires, among other chapbooks, memoirs, and others. Blanco’s many honors include the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, the PEN/Beyond Margins Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, a Lambda Literary Award, and two Maine Literary Awards. He has been a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and received honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College, and the University of Rhode Island. He has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and NPR’s Fresh Air. The Academy of American Poets named him its first Education Ambassador in 2015. Blanco has continued to write occasional poems for organizations and events such as the re-opening of the U.S. embassy in Havana. He lives with his partner in Bethel, ME. Source

Como Tú / Like You / Like Me

{for the D.A.C.A DREAMers and all our nation's immigrants}


. . . my veins don’t end in me

but in the unanimous blood

of those who struggle for life . . .


. . . mis venas no terminan en mí

sino en la sange unánime

de los que luchan por la vida . . .

—Roque Dalton, Como tú


Como tú, I question history’s blur in my eyes

each time I face a mirror. Like a mirror, I gaze

into my palm a wrinkled map I still can’t read,

my lifeline an unnamed road I can’t find, can’t

trace back to the fork in my parents’ trek

that cradled me here. Como tú, I woke up to

this dream of a country I didn’t choose, that

didn’t choose me—trapped in the nightmare

of its hateful glares. Como tú, I’m also from

the lakes and farms, waterfalls and prairies

of another country I can’t fully claim either.

Como tú, I am either a mirage living among

these faces and streets that raised me here,

or I’m nothing, a memory forgotten by all

I was taken from and can’t return to again.


Like memory, at times I wish I could erase

the music of my name in Spanish, at times

I cherish it, and despise my other syllables

clashing in English. Como tú, I want to speak

of myself in two languages at once. Despite

my tongues, no word defines me. Like words,

I read my footprints like my past, erased by

waves of circumstance, my future uncertain

as wind. Like the wind, como tú, I carry songs,

howls, whispers, thunder’s growl. Like thunder,

I’m a foreign-borne cloud that’s drifted here,

I’m lightning, and the balm of rain. Como tú,

our blood rains for the dirty thirst of this land.

Like thirst, like hunger, we ache with the need

to save ourselves, and our country from itself.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:






Intersectionality & Culture

Poems of Place

Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”