Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Prince of Los Cocuyos by Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco is a writer of beautiful poetry and prose. Much can be said about him, to identify him, factually.  He was born in Madrid in 1968. As an infant, he immigrated, with his Cuban-exile family to New York and then to Miami. He grew up and studied in Miami. At Florida International University, he earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an MFA in creative writing. He is an engineer, an educator, and an author. In 2013, he was the firth inaugural poet of the United States and was the youngest, the first Latino, first immigrant, and first gay writer to have that honor. All these facts are factors in his writing. But, it is the combination of his lyrical style and his narrative skills that make his writing special.

The Prince of Los Cocuyos is a memoir of Blanco's Miami childhood. In each chapter, he tells the story of a different time and situation in his life, as he grows from a small boy to a young man about to graduate from high school. Among the stories - "The First Real San Giving Day" which includes learning to cook a turkey; "Losing the Farm" about time spent with his grandfather and the animals they raised in the backyard of their home; "Listening to Mermaids" about maturing, friendships, and loving. In more than one chapter, he describes his years working at the family market, El Cocuyito (the little firefly) and the employers, co-workers, and customers who were a part of his childhood.

Blanco writes with such a combination of insight, sensitivity and humor that I savor every word.  I know some readers do not like poetry, but in case you do or want to try his poems after you read his memoir, there are three books of his poems in our collection.  If you want to know more about Richard Blanco, here is a link to his website:

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