Family continues to be a wellspring of inspiration and learning for Blanco. His third book of poetry, Looking for The Gulf Motel, is a genealogy of the heart, exploring how his family’s emotion legacy has shaped—and continues shaping—his perspectives. The collection is presented in three movements, each one chronicling his understanding of a particular facet of life from childhood into adulthood. As a child born into the milieu of his Cuban exiled familia, the first movement delves into early questions of cultural identity and their evolution into his unrelenting sense of displacement and quest for the elusive meaning of home. The second, begins with poems peering back into family again, examining the blurred lines of gender, the frailty of his father-son relationship, and the intersection of his cultural and sexual identities as a Cuban-American gay man living in rural Maine. In the last movement, poems focused on his mother’s life shaped by exile, his father’s death, and the passing of a generation of relatives, all provide lessons about his own impermanence in the world and the permanence of loss. Looking for the Gulf Motel is looking for the beauty of that which we cannot hold onto, be it country, family, or love.
About the Author
Richard Blanco was selected as the 2013 inaugural poet for President Barack Obama. He is the author of two other poetry collections: Directions to The Beach of the Dead, winner of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award; and City of a Hundred Fires, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. Exploring themes of Latino identity and place, Blanco's poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2000 and Best American Prose Poems and have been featured on NPR. He is a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, recipient of two Florida Artist Fellowships, and has taught at Georgetown and American universities. A builder of cities and poems, Blanco is also a professional civil engineer.
Table of ContentsContents Looking for The Gulf Motel Part 1 The Name I Wanted: Betting on America Tía Margarita Johnson’s House in Hollywood Cousin Consuelo, On Piano Taking My Cousin’s Photo at the Statue of Liberty Of Consequence, Inconsequently The Island Within Poem Between Havana and Varadero Habla Cuba Speaking 5:00 am in Cuba Practice Problem El Florida Room Sitting on My Mother’s Porch in Westchester, Florida Part 2 Playing House with Pepín Afternoons as Endora Queer Theory: According to My Grandmother Abuelo in a Western The Port Pilot My Brother on Mt. Barker Papá at the Kitchen Table My Father, My Hands Love as if Love Maybe Cheers to Hyakutake Thicker Than Country Killing Mark Love Poem According to Quantum Theory Part 3 Birthday Portrait Mamá with Indians: 1973, 2007 Venus in Miami Beach Cooking with Mamá in Maine House of the Virgin Mary Mi Rosa y Mi Sal Questioning My Cousin Elena Remembering What Tía Noelia Can’t Unspoken Elegy for Tía Cucha Bones, Teeth Burning in the Rain Place of Mind Some Days the Sea Since Unfinished Acknowledgments