“Poet Engineer and the Poetics of Place”
3 September 2014 5:00 pm at SAUL Studio
Speaker: Richard Blanco
As part of the Limerick National City of Culture 2014 Visiting Writers Series, Barack Obama’s inaugural poet, Richard Blanco, will spend time at the University of Limerick. His visit to UL will take place during his two-week period as Writer-in-Residence in Limerick. Hosted by SAUL, the School of Architecture, Blanco will give a lecture entitled “Poet Engineer and the Poetics of Place” at 5pm on Wednesday 3rd September 2014 in the SAUL Design Studio at the University. At this event, Blanco will generate a conversation with poems along with extensive commentary about his life as an engineer and its relationship to his poetry, both of which deal with creating and longing for a sense of place.
As both a poet and a civil engineer, Blanco is ideally placed to offer a creative and exciting opening to both SAUL’s Autumn 2014 public lecture series and the School’s academic year. This is a free public event, open to all.
“One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.”
Extract from ‘One Today’: 2013 Inauguration Poem
Biography: Richard Blanco was born in Madrid in 1968, immigrating 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 has been a practicing engineer, writer and poet since 1991. He has travelled extensively in his adult life, living and working throughout Europe and South America. He has taught at Georgetown University, American University, Writer’s Centre and Central Connecticut State University. Blanco currently resides in the tranquil mountains of Bethel, Maine. Blanco was chosen by Obama as the fifth inaugural poet in 2012 following in the footsteps of luminary American writers Maya Angelou and Robert Frost. Blanco is the youngest, first Latino, and openly gay writer to hold this honour and was chosen as Obama believed the poet’s “deeply personal poems are rooted in the idea of what it means to be an American.” Blanco is the author of City of a Hundred Fires (1998), Directions to the Beach of the Dead (2005), Looking for the Gulf Motel (2012), One Today (2013), Boston Strong (2013), and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey (2013).