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Belonging: Reflections on Identity, Exile, and Home: A Conversation with Richard Blanco

This is a past event.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 2:00pm

Virtual Event

Belonging: Reflections on Identity, Exile, and Home: A Conversation with Richard Blanco in honor of LGBTQ+ Pride Month

“Blanco’s contributions to the fields of poetry and the arts have already paved a path forward for future generations of writers…Our Nation was built on the freedom of expression, and poetry has long played an important role in telling the story of our Union and illuminating the experiences that unite all people.” - President Barack Obama

Blanco, who read his poem “One Today” at the second inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2013, is the youngest, first Latino, first immigrant, and first openly gay person to serve as inaugural poet. He placed his papers with Emory’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.


Belonging is a universal human yearning — we all need someone, someplace, something to belong to and thrive. But what does it mean to belong? What do we belong to, or not, and why? Do we get to choose? Is belonging inclusive or exclusive, or both? Is it a false reality, or a true manifestation of the self?

These are the questions Richard Blanco has asked throughout his writing and his often-contradictory identities as both a poet and engineer, as a Cuban-American, as a popular poetic figure yet an academic, and as a straight-raised boy who grew up to become an openly gay man.

Florida International University's Center for the Humanities in an Urban Environment, in collaboration with Emory University and other partners listed below, invite you to join Richard Blanco as he continues to explore belonging in conversation with Professor Karen Stolley of Emory's Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Please visit to learn more about our guest poet.

This event is free and open to the public. Register here:

Join us on Zoom: 

The event will also be live-streamed on Facebook:

Special thanks to the event partners:

  • Florida International University’s Center for the Humanities in an Urban Environment
  • Florida International University’s Department of English
  • AJC Decatur Book Festival, presented by Emory University
  • Emory Alumni Association
  • Emory University’s Office of Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Life, Campus Life
  • Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library
  • Emory University’s Center for Faculty Development and Excellence
  • Emory University’s Department of Spanish & Portuguese
  • Invisible Histories Project

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Statement of Free Expression

FIU endorses the Florida Board of Governors' Statement of Free Expression to support and encourage full and open discourse and the robust exchange of ideas and perspectives on our campuses. In addition to supporting this legal right, we view this as an integral part of our ability to deliver a high-quality academic experience for our students, engage in meaningful and productive research, and provide valuable public service. This includes fostering civil and open dialogue in support of critical thinking in and out of the classroom, including events hosted by the university.