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January 9, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
President Obama has chosen Richard Blanco, the 44-year-old son of Cuban immigrants, to be the 2013 inaugural poet. He will be the first Latino poet, and the first openly gay man given the honor of reading at a presidential inauguration. “Richard's writing will be wonderfully fitting for an inaugural that will celebrate the strength of the American people and our nation's great diversity,” Obama said in a statement. Blanco arrived in the U.S. when he was a few months old and was raised in Miami.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 10, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Have you always wanted to be a writer? Now's your chance. Play our online game, "How to Be a Writer ," and experience the ups and downs of the literary life. It's based on the real thing. We sent a survey -- completely unscientific -- about what it's like to be a writer to authors who will be at this weekend's L.A. Times Festival of Books on the USC campus. Based on the answers about 200 of them gave us, we came up with this game that hewed to the contours of their life choices.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
In about 550 words, Richard Blanco's inaugural poem created a metaphorical country and took it through the journey of a metaphorical day. “One Today” was an intimate and sweeping celebration of our shared, single identity as a people, and Blanco recited it in a voice that was both confident and tenderly soft-spoken. Blanco built his poem on a foundation of the concrete and the everyday. He began with people going to work and school in “silver trucks heavy with oil or paper - bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us, on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives…” And then he placed these ordinary people in a recognizably American landscape of “one ground.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Twenty years ago, Kate Gale co-founded Red Hen Press , an independent publisher based in Southern California. Under its wings, Red Hen has a few specialty imprints as well as an active program that puts writers in the classroom. Gale is herself a poet and a librettist -- a typical musical project of hers is with composer Billy Childs, based on Octavia Butler's "Kindred. " Gale's latest collection of poetry is "The Goldilocks Zone," published by the University of New Mexico Press.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 10, 2013 | By Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times
President Obama's choice of the relatively unknown Cuban American poet Richard Blanco to read at his inauguration later this month caught many people in poetry circles by surprise. Blanco, 44, will be the first Latino poet, and the first openly gay man given the honor of reading at a presidential inauguration. And his choice is a reflection of the great shifts in American poetry circles and U.S. culture at large. "I think it's an inspired choice," said David St. John, a poet and professor at USC. Though Blanco is well-known in poetry circles for his award-winning first collection of poetry and recently published his third book, "Looking for the Gulf Motel," he's "not an establishment poet," as former California poet laureate Carol Muske-Dukes put it. "It's a choice that's not only important for the gay and lesbian and Latino communities," St. John said, "but also for poets who work to give voice to people outside the mainstream of popular culture.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 10, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Have you always wanted to be a writer? Now's your chance. Play our online game, "How to Be a Writer ," and experience the ups and downs of the literary life. It's based on the real thing. We sent a survey -- completely unscientific -- about what it's like to be a writer to authors who will be at this weekend's L.A. Times Festival of Books on the USC campus. Based on the answers about 200 of them gave us, we came up with this game that hewed to the contours of their life choices.
NEWS
January 21, 2013 | By Dan Turner
[This post has been updated from its original version. It originally spelled the poet's name "Bianco," not "Blanco. "] If President Obama had been casting about through American history for the ideal poet to deliver his inaugural "Song of Ourselves," he could do no worse at this juncture than Walt Whitman. The booming American icon didn't just have a gift for ferreting out the things that make all Americans, indeed all humans, the same regardless of accidents of birth or upbringing -- he had a way of inspiring people to be better than they think they are, to see the puny nature of our differences and work together to appreciate the wonders of democracy.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Twenty years ago, Kate Gale co-founded Red Hen Press , an independent publisher based in Southern California. Under its wings, Red Hen has a few specialty imprints as well as an active program that puts writers in the classroom. Gale is herself a poet and a librettist -- a typical musical project of hers is with composer Billy Childs, based on Octavia Butler's "Kindred. " Gale's latest collection of poetry is "The Goldilocks Zone," published by the University of New Mexico Press.
NEWS
January 21, 2013
The following poem was delivered by inauguration poet Richard Blanco during ceremonies for  President Obama's second inaugural Monday. The text of the poem was provided by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "One Today" One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores, peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies. One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2014 | By Richard Blanco
What does it take to be a writer: A room of one's own? A weakness for words? To celebrate the Festival of Books , we asked some celebrated authors to recall a turning point in their evolution as writers. How did I decide to become a poet? Well, that's like asking how I decided to fall in love with Mark, my partner of 14 years. I don't think anyone really makes conscious decisions when it comes to matters of love or vocation. Still, I understand the spirit of such a question, which is really asking: How did I meet and fall in love with poetry?
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2014 | By Richard Blanco
What does it take to be a writer: A room of one's own? A weakness for words? To celebrate the Festival of Books , we asked some celebrated authors to recall a turning point in their evolution as writers. How did I decide to become a poet? Well, that's like asking how I decided to fall in love with Mark, my partner of 14 years. I don't think anyone really makes conscious decisions when it comes to matters of love or vocation. Still, I understand the spirit of such a question, which is really asking: How did I meet and fall in love with poetry?
NEWS
January 21, 2013 | By Dan Turner
[This post has been updated from its original version. It originally spelled the poet's name "Bianco," not "Blanco. "] If President Obama had been casting about through American history for the ideal poet to deliver his inaugural "Song of Ourselves," he could do no worse at this juncture than Walt Whitman. The booming American icon didn't just have a gift for ferreting out the things that make all Americans, indeed all humans, the same regardless of accidents of birth or upbringing -- he had a way of inspiring people to be better than they think they are, to see the puny nature of our differences and work together to appreciate the wonders of democracy.
NEWS
January 21, 2013
The following poem was delivered by inauguration poet Richard Blanco during ceremonies for  President Obama's second inaugural Monday. The text of the poem was provided by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "One Today" One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores, peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies. One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
In about 550 words, Richard Blanco's inaugural poem created a metaphorical country and took it through the journey of a metaphorical day. “One Today” was an intimate and sweeping celebration of our shared, single identity as a people, and Blanco recited it in a voice that was both confident and tenderly soft-spoken. Blanco built his poem on a foundation of the concrete and the everyday. He began with people going to work and school in “silver trucks heavy with oil or paper - bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us, on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives…” And then he placed these ordinary people in a recognizably American landscape of “one ground.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 10, 2013 | By Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times
President Obama's choice of the relatively unknown Cuban American poet Richard Blanco to read at his inauguration later this month caught many people in poetry circles by surprise. Blanco, 44, will be the first Latino poet, and the first openly gay man given the honor of reading at a presidential inauguration. And his choice is a reflection of the great shifts in American poetry circles and U.S. culture at large. "I think it's an inspired choice," said David St. John, a poet and professor at USC. Though Blanco is well-known in poetry circles for his award-winning first collection of poetry and recently published his third book, "Looking for the Gulf Motel," he's "not an establishment poet," as former California poet laureate Carol Muske-Dukes put it. "It's a choice that's not only important for the gay and lesbian and Latino communities," St. John said, "but also for poets who work to give voice to people outside the mainstream of popular culture.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
President Obama has chosen Richard Blanco, the 44-year-old son of Cuban immigrants, to be the 2013 inaugural poet. He will be the first Latino poet, and the first openly gay man given the honor of reading at a presidential inauguration. “Richard's writing will be wonderfully fitting for an inaugural that will celebrate the strength of the American people and our nation's great diversity,” Obama said in a statement. Blanco arrived in the U.S. when he was a few months old and was raised in Miami.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Today the nation honors the life of Martin Luther King Jr., the reverend and activist who led the American civil rights movement. As King studied nonviolence as practiced by Gandhi and imagined by Henry David Thoreau, now his own life and work are the subject of study. Here are 12 essential reads about the short life of King, who was assassinated in 1968 at age 39. "The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement" (2013), "Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63" (1986)
ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 2013 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Tuesday at 10 a.m., staff writer Hector Tobar and I will do a live video chat about President Obama's presidential inauguration from a literary point of view. Last week, Tobar wrote about the lessons Obama might draw from previous inaugural speeches ; we'll talk about how we thought he did, and also discuss Richard Blanco's commemorative poem . Such conversations come up around every inaugural, which are, among other things, showcases for a president's acuity with words. Think of John F. Kennedy , himself a Pulitzer Prize-winner, or Franklin Delano Roosevelt , with his stirring declaration that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
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