Short Take: The Prince of los Cocuyos – Richard Blanco

Blanco is the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, following in the footsteps of literary luminaries like Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. He is the youngest poet ever chosen, the first Latino, an immigrant and an openly gay writer. Blanco’s new memoir explores his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while coming to terms with his sexual identity and the idea of himself as an artist.

Growing up in the 1970s in a Cuban-American community in Miami, poet Blanco was besieged by his exiled relatives’ nostalgia for the life they had left behind in Cuba in the 1960s; yet he also yearned for an American identity free from the immigrant experience. In seven chapters Blanco moves through the milestones of his adolescence living with his mother, father, older brother, Carlos (“Caco”), and grandparents, specifically his overbearing abuela, who had saved enough money working as a bookie in New York City for the family to move to a new house with a terra-cotta roof and lawn in the Westchester suburb of Miami….Blanco has a natural, unforced style that allows his characters’ vibrancy and humor to shine through.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A warm, emotionally intimate memoir.”
— Kirkus

“Filled with colorful characters, often poignant and sometimes melancholy, Blanco’s episodic memoir is a meditation on belonging, on self-acceptance, and on his family’s almost mystical connection to Cuba.”
— Booklist

The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood (9780062313768) by Richard Blanco. $25.99 hardcover. 9/30/14 on sale.

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