Loft Mentor Series Reading with Richard Blanco
Location: The Loft at Open Book (Performance Hall)
Day of the Week: Friday
Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm
• Regular: $10.00
• Member: $5.00
The Loft presents a 2017-2018 Loft Mentor Series Reading with Richard Blanco and fellows Micki Blenkush and Karen Gu.
Richard Blanco’s first book of poetry, City of a Hundred Fires, was published in 1998 to critical acclaim, winning the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press. The collection explored his cultural yearnings and contradictions as a Cuban-American and captured the details of his transformational first trip to Cuba, his figurative homeland. His second book of poems, Directions to The Beach of the Dead (2005), received the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center. His third book of poetry, Looking for The Gulf Motel (2012), received the Paterson Poetry Prize, the 2012 Maine Literary Award for Poetry, and the Thom Gunn Award. President Barack Obama selected Blanco in 2012 to serve as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role, Blanco read “One Today,” an original poem he wrote for the occasion, at Obama’s inauguration ceremony on January 21, 2013.
Since the inauguration, Blanco has been named a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and has received honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College, and the University of Rhode Island. His memoir, The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood (2014), is a poignant, hilarious, and inspiring exploration of his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities. It received the 2015 Maine Literary Award for Memoir and the 2015 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir.
Micki Blenkush lives in St. Cloud and works as a county social worker coordinating programs to support persons with disabilities to live in the community. She is a 2015 recipient of an Emerging Artist Grant awarded by the Central MN Arts Board, funded by the McKnight Foundation. Her writing has appeared in: Sequestrum, Naugatuck River Review, Star 82 Review, and elsewhere.
Karen Gu moved from Chicago to Minneapolis two years ago. She has been published in The Chicago Tribune, and she lives in Uptown with her orange tabby Jasper.
Advanced tickets guarantee a general admission seat and help cover the Loft's costs to host the event. Advanced tickets are non-refundable. Pay-what-you-can tickets are available at the door 30 minutes prior to the event on a first-come, first-served basis. No one turned away for lack of funds. Doors open 30 minutes before the event. Seating is general admission (not assigned).