On March 21, 2023, President Joe Biden awarded the National Humanities Medal to Richard Blanco. Blanco, who delivered his poem “One Today” at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, is one of 12 people from across the nation chosen to receive the award.
In 2005, University of Arizona Press published Blanco’s Directions to The Beach of the Dead, for which the author received the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center. His latest poetry collection is How to Love a Country.
This week, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo) said of the National Humanities Medal: “The recipients have enriched our world through writing that moves and inspires us; scholarship that enlarges our understanding of the past; and through their dedication to educating, informing, and giving voice to communities and histories often overlooked.” She continued, “I am proud to join President Biden in recognizing these distinguished leaders for their outstanding contributions to our nation’s cultural life.”
The NEH described Richard Blanco: “An award-winning poet and author, professor and public speaker, and son of Cuban immigrants, Richard Blanco’s powerful storytelling challenges the boundaries of culture, gender, and class while celebrating the promise of our Nation’s highest ideals.”
Congratulations Richard Blanco!