The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood

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A poignant, hilarious, and inspiring memoir from the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet, which explores 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.

Richard Blanco’s childhood and adolescence were experienced between two imaginary worlds: his parents’ nostalgic world of 1950s Cuba and his imagined America, the country he saw on reruns of The Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver—an “exotic” life he yearned for as much as he yearned to see “la patria.”

Navigating these worlds eventually led Blanco to question his cultural identity through words; in turn, his vision as a writer—as an artist—prompted the courage to accept himself as a gay man. In this moving, contemplative memoir, the 2013 inaugural poet traces his poignant, often hilarious, and quintessentially American coming-of-age and the people who influenced him.

A prismatic and lyrical narrative rich with the colors, sounds, smells, and textures of Miami, Richard Blanco’s personal narrative is a resonant account of how he discovered his authentic self and ultimately, a deeper understanding of what it means to be American. His is a singular yet universal story that beautifully illuminates the experience of “becoming;” how we are shaped by experiences, memories, and our complex stories: the humor, love, yearning, and tenderness that define a life. 

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About the author

An accomplished author, engineer, and educator, Richard blanco has published several volumes of acclaimed poetry. He is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, a recipient of several honorary doctorates, and a dynamic speaker supporting diversity, marriage equality, immigration, poetry in education, cultural exchange, and other important issues of our day. Currently, he shares his time between Boston and Bethel, Maine.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Sep 30, 2014
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780062313782
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Cultural Heritage
Biography & Autobiography / LGBT
Biography & Autobiography / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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"Richard Blanco, a Cuban raised in the United States, records his threefold burdens: learning and adapting to American culture, translating for family and friends, and maintaining his own roots. . . . Blanco is already a mature, seasoned writer, and his powers of description and determination to get every nuance correct are evident from the first poem. . . . Absolutely essential for all libraries." --Library Journal "As one of the newer voices in Cuban-American poetry, Blanco write about the reality of an uprooted culture and how the poet binds the farthest regions of the world together through language. . . . This book describes the price of exile and extends beyond the shores of America and the imagined shores of home." --Bloomsbury Review "Unlike most contemporary minority poetry, City of a Hundred Fires, introduces readers to the fullness and richness of ethnic life, and not only the frustration and isolation so often associated with it. Richard Blanco exquisitely portrays the triumphs and defeats of a land and a people that have just barely survived revolution and time, and, without sentiment or cliche, affirms the ability within us all to achieve wholeness." --Indiana Review "Blanco is a fine young poet, and this poetry, the bread and wine of our language of exile, is pure delight. May he continue to produce such a heavenly mix of rhythm and image-these poems are more than gems, they are the truth not only about the Cuban-American experience, but of our collective experience in the United States, a beautiful land of gypsies." --Virgil Suarez Richard Blanco was, as he says, "made in Cuba, asssembled in Madrid, and imported to the United States," meaning he was conceived in Cuba, born in Madrid, and arrived in the United States as an infant able to claim citizenship in three different countries. His work has appeared in many journals, magazines, and anthologies, including the Nation, Michigan Quarterly, TriQuarterly, and Indiana Review. Blanco is a graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at Florida International University and also works as a civil engineer.
"Richard Blanco, a Cuban raised in the United States, records his threefold burdens: learning and adapting to American culture, translating for family and friends, and maintaining his own roots. . . . Blanco is already a mature, seasoned writer, and his powers of description and determination to get every nuance correct are evident from the first poem. . . . Absolutely essential for all libraries." --Library Journal "As one of the newer voices in Cuban-American poetry, Blanco write about the reality of an uprooted culture and how the poet binds the farthest regions of the world together through language. . . . This book describes the price of exile and extends beyond the shores of America and the imagined shores of home." --Bloomsbury Review "Unlike most contemporary minority poetry, City of a Hundred Fires, introduces readers to the fullness and richness of ethnic life, and not only the frustration and isolation so often associated with it. Richard Blanco exquisitely portrays the triumphs and defeats of a land and a people that have just barely survived revolution and time, and, without sentiment or cliche, affirms the ability within us all to achieve wholeness." --Indiana Review "Blanco is a fine young poet, and this poetry, the bread and wine of our language of exile, is pure delight. May he continue to produce such a heavenly mix of rhythm and image-these poems are more than gems, they are the truth not only about the Cuban-American experience, but of our collective experience in the United States, a beautiful land of gypsies." --Virgil Suarez Richard Blanco was, as he says, "made in Cuba, asssembled in Madrid, and imported to the United States," meaning he was conceived in Cuba, born in Madrid, and arrived in the United States as an infant able to claim citizenship in three different countries. His work has appeared in many journals, magazines, and anthologies, including the Nation, Michigan Quarterly, TriQuarterly, and Indiana Review. Blanco is a graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at Florida International University and also works as a civil engineer.
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