Richard Blanco papers, 1968-2017

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Blanco, Richard, 1968-
Title: Richard Blanco papers, 1968-2017
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1431
Extent: 37.875 linear feet (41 boxes), 5 oversized papers folders (OP), AV Masters: .5 linear feet (1 box), and 131 MB born digital material (156 files, .25 linear feet (1 box))
Abstract:Papers of Cuban-American poet and engineer, Richard Blanco, including writings by Blanco, personal papers, professional papers, writings by others, printed material, and born digital material.
Language:Materials in English and Spanish.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Access to processed born digital materials is only available in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (the Rose Library). Use of the original digital media is restricted.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Separated Material

The Rose Library holds books and periodicals formerly owned by Richard Blanco. These items may be located in the Emory University online catalog by searching: Blanco, Richard, former owner.


Purchased from Richard Blanco, 2017.


[after identification of item(s)], Richard Blanco papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired by Rosemary Magee, Director of the Rose Library and Curator of Literary Collections, as part of the Rose Library's holdings in poetry. One linear foot of duplicate publications, extraneous memorabilia, and out of date engineering texts and equipment was removed from the collection and returned to Blanco. Appraisal decisions were made by Manuscript Archivist Sarah Quigley and Head of Collection Services Carrie Hintz.


Arranged and described at the box level by Sarah Quigley, February 2017. Richard Blanco packed and inventoried the collection before transferring the material to the Rose Library. Quigley retained much of the original order with the exceptions of consolidating material into fewer boxes; removing books and periodicals for cataloging; and removing audiovisual material, born digital material, awards, memorabilia, and oversized material from their original locations and organizing them separately.

Arranged and described at the file level by Dayne Alexander and Haylee Harrell, 2019. Archivists imposed the series arrangement and alphabetical file arrangement but retained Blanco's original order within files.

Born digital materials processed, arranged, and described by Brenna Edwards, 2020. Born digital materials include files taken from ten 3.5" floppy disks, seven optical discs, and one hard drive. For information as to how these materials were processed, see the processing note in the description of series 6, Born digital material.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Richard Blanco (1968-) was born in Madrid, Spain, on February 15, 1968. His parents were Cuban exiles and had been in Spain for two months when he was born. The family immigrated to the United States when Blanco was a month old, eventually settling in Miami, Florida. Blanco attended Florida International University (Miami, Florida), earning a bachelor's degree in engineering in 1991. Writing was a creative outlet for Blanco during his early career as an engineer, and he returned to Florida International University for graduate school, receiving a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in 1997. He published his first book of poetry, City of a Hundred Fires, in 1998, winning the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Blanco's other award-winning collections of poetry include Directions to the Beach of the Dead (2005) and Looking for the Gulf Motel (2012). His memoir, The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood (2014), won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir in 2015.

In 2012, President Barack Obama selected Blanco as the fifth presidential inaugural poet. Blanco is the youngest, first Latino, first immigrant, and first openly gay person to serve in this capacity. At the inauguration on January 21, 2013, he read his poem, "One Today," written especially for the occasion. The experience also led to the publication of a memoir, For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet's Journey (2013), and a children's book, One Today (2015). Blanco has written poetry in commemoration of other nationally important events, including the poem, "Boston Strong," following the bombing during the Boston Marathon (2013); "One Pulse--One Poem" following the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida (2016); and "Matters of the Sea" for the reopening of the American Embassy in Havana, Cuba (2015).

Blanco has continued to work periodically as an engineer and has taught at Central Connecticut State University (New Britain, Connecticut) and Georgetown and American Universities (Washington, D.C.). He currently lives in Maine with his partner, research scientist, Mark Neveu.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Richard Blanco from 1968-2017 and includes writings by Blanco, personal papers, professional papers, writings by others, printed material, audiovisual material, and born digital material. Writings by Blanco include poetry, prose, and notebooks. Material for each publication may include drafts; notes; correspondence with agents, editors, and others; contracts; reviews and publicity; recordings of Blanco reading his work, and contest submittals. The collection also contains drafts of unpublished writing by Blanco, such as Promise of Paradise, the precursor to The Prince of Los Cocuyos. Personal papers contain awards, correspondence, undergraduate and graduate materials from Florida International University, and photographs. Correspondence includes letters between Blanco and other authors, including Sandra Cisneros, Nikki Moustaki, Darden Pyron, and Spencer Reece; letters from luminaries such as Norman Lear and Nancy Pelosi; personal correspondence between Blanco and artist Carlos Betancourt, Mark Neveu, and Christy Rivera; and fan mail. Professional papers include administrative records relating to Blanco's work as a writer such as travel itineraries and receipts, financial records, and copyright permissions. Professional papers also include documents relating to his teaching and career as an engineer in Florida. Printed material relating to readings, events, lectures, and media appearances contains fliers, posters, and articles. Born digital material includes one external hard drive, ten floppy disks containing writings, correspondence, and photographs, and seven unidentified compact disks.

Arrangement Note

Organized into six series: (1) Writings by Blanco, (2) Personal papers, (3) Professional papers, (4) Writings by others, (5) Printed material, and (6) Born digital material.

Finding Aid Note

Richard Blanco's original inventory is available from the repository by request.

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