Inauguration poet Richard Blanco in Brainerd today

Richard Blanco reaches to shake President Obama's hand after reading his inaugural poem last January.

Richard Blanco reaches to shake President Obama’s hand after reading his inaugural poem last January.

Richard Blanco, the unlikely modern poet who was selected to compose and read a poem at President Obama’s inauguration last January, will perform a reading today at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, Minnesota.

Blanco broke a lot of barriers in being selected to read a commemorative poem, something not every president includes in the ceremony. He was the first Hispanic poet, the first Cuban-American poet, the first openly gay poet and the youngest poet ever chosen for the task. His poem “One Today” was penned with the goal of uniting American in increasingly segmented and multicultural times, and did as close to that as I imagine possible.

Blanco will perform his reading at the Chalberg Theater (site of the Summer 2012 Great Northern Radio Show) at Central Lakes College at noon. He’ll also do a meet-and-greet afterward and lead a poetry workshop for students. It’s truly a great opportunity to hear and meet one of America’s best contemporary poets, one whose works are already marking the times.

If you missed Blanco’s poem at the inauguration, you should absolutely watch it. It was a remarkable poem:

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