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Product Details

  • Series: Pitt Poetry Series
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822962012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822962014
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“W. H. Auden, asked to define poetry from the other written arts, wrote that poetry was ‘memorable speech.’ Richard Blanco’s speech invites the reader in with its search for home. His lyrics open doors onto his Cuban immigrant family, his father’s early death, and his own migration from a life in Florida to a life in Maine. His speech houses a generous love of others and a persistent reach for what is absent. There is nothing here you will not remember.”
—Spencer Reece



“Every poem in Looking for The Gulf Motel packs an emotional wallop and an intellectual caress. A virtuoso of art and craft who juggles the subjective and the objective beautifully, Blanco is at the height of his creative prowess and one of the best of the best poets writing today.”
—Jim Elledge



“The poems in Looking for The Gulf Motel are bittersweet songs that ache with the ‘sweet and slow honey of a bolero.’ They croon about journeys from Cuba and Spain to Florida and Maine; mourn languages, lovers, and names that were or could have been; and praise the forgotten pop culture icons that expanded one young person’s view of his nationality and manhood. If all loss is like exile, Blanco tells us, then searching for love (in the self, in others) is healing, is finding home, because ‘love is thicker than any country.’”
—Rigoberto González



“The main thing about Blanco’s poems is how lyrical his voice is and how universal his themes, how easily we can relate to his concerns.”

—Chamber Four



"These are poems of poetic beauty and heart, confession and acceptance, courage and love. Wonderful."

—Synecdoche

About the Author

Richard Blanco was selected as the 2013 inaugural poet for President Barack Obama. He is the author of two other poetry collections: Directions to The Beach of the Dead, winner of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award; and City of a Hundred Fires, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. Exploring themes of Latino identity and place, Blanco's poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2000 and Best American Prose Poems and have been featured on NPR. He is a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, recipient of two Florida Artist Fellowships, and has taught at Georgetown and American universities. A builder of cities and poems, Blanco is also a professional civil engineer.


More About the Author

Richard Blanco is one of the most beloved and influential poets and storytellers writing today. As a historic inaugural poet, public speaker, teacher and memoirist, he continues to invite audiences to reconnect to the heart of the human experience and all of its beautiful diversity. Through the power of his words and presence, Blanco taps into out unspoken dreams, hopes and frustrations. He captures the human spirit and condition, in all of its complexities, opening up our minds and encouraging us to see beyond our differences to share in the universal experience of our humanity. Just as Carl Sagan brought cosmology into our living rooms, Blanco is appealing to audiences everywhere and inspiring a new way to think and feel about the poetry of our day, making it an accessible, inclusive and transformative part of our everyday lives.

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 traveled extensively in his adult life, living and working throughout Europe and South America. He has taught at Georgetown University, American University, Writer's Center and Central Connecticut State University. Blanco currently resides in the tranquil mountains of Bethel, Maine.

His books, in order of publication, are: 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).

In 2013, Blanco was chosen to serve as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, following in the footsteps as such great writers as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. Blanco performed One Today, an original poem he wrote for the occasion, becoming the youngest, first Latino, immigrant and openly gay writer to hold the honor.

Following the inauguration, he continued connecting communities through occasional poetry. He has written and performed occasional poems for such organizations as Freedom to Marry, the Tech Awards and the Fragrance Awards. In May of 2013, Blanco wrote Boston Strong, an occasional poem he performed at the TD Boston Garden Benefit Concert and at a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Following his performances, he released a limited edition Boston Strong chapbook, with all proceeds going to those most affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.

Blanco has received numerous honors for his writings and performances, including an honorary doctorate from Macalester College and being named a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. His first book, City of a Hundred Fires received the prestigious Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize. His second book, Directions to the Beach of the Dead won the PEN / American Beyond Margins Award. His third book, Looking for The Gulf Motel received various accolades, including the Tom Gunn Award, the Maine Literary Award and the Paterson Prize. His poems have appeared in countless literary journals and anthologies, including Best American Prose Poems and Ploughshares.

Blanco continues to write and perform for audiences around the world. In addition to his occasional poetry and performances, he is currently working on a full-length memoir and is collaborating with renowned illustrator Dav Pilkey on a children's book.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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That's how good this book is and how good this poetry is.
John Michael Albert
Mr. Blanco paints a beautiful picture of every scene and event he describes and makes me reminisce of my own childhood.
Eddie H. Chung
I first heard of Richard Blanco when he read his poem at the second inauguration of President Obama.
Tillie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tillie on February 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first heard of Richard Blanco when he read his poem at the second inauguration of President Obama. Impressed, I looked to Amazon for more. This collection is beautiful. The specific detail of his life enriches the memories of his childhood. If I were still teaching writing, I would certainly use this collection as a how-to for memoir. I see why he was selected for the inaugural honor.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Selby on February 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The poet, as you undoubtedly know, is the one President Obama selected to write and recite a poem at his Second Inauguration, titled "One Today." The poetry is varied, some definitely influenced by the poet's Hispanic background, others by other experiences. The poems have a freshness of speech, a common person speech with an uncommon link of rich metaphors, fresh ones. There is a sense of the poet's love of humanity--certainly that rang true when he read his poem on January 21st this year. Some of the poems are bittersweet, songs of a sort, especially those that related to Cuba, Spain and Florida and then, his most recent home, up in Maine. I really enjoyed reading these poems. And, by the way, the volume is thin. But that's fine. It's poetry.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By FloridaSun2012 on September 9, 2012
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Richard Blanco's latest work is poignant and touching, a universal voice that speaks to all of us. It gets more enjoyable each time I pick it up.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MW on January 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
Blanco's poetry moved me deeply. Though our background couldn't be more different--I'm from a Maine mill town--I found so much to recognize. And that's the power of a good, storytelling poet: his particular experience, told in fresh, evocative, accessible language, becomes OUR experience, and reminds us what connects us all. Thank God for university presses. --Monica Wood
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alice Hunt on May 19, 2013
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I loved this collection of poetry. The author lives in my part of the country and to transplant from the warth of the South to the cold North winters is a challenge in itself. But he writes of how our chilhood and culture follow us wherever we go, and that is not a bad thing. Highly reccomend this book for several go back to readings. It's not just how he writes but what you read between the lines.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Buck Dharma on May 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book of poetry has a wonderful rhythm. Additionally, it tells wonderful stories about family. It is educational about immigrant families as well.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By I. Martinez on February 9, 2013
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Mr. Blanco rocks! He makes you laugh, cry and think. A must read for all lovers of beautiful prose and poetry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan Pyne on November 25, 2013
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Great poet. Clear with images I can relate to. I loved the book. I found it at first in my church library. Shared with friends then gave as a gift to my son.
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