Richard Blanco, who last month became the fifth presidential inaugural poet, will be at Union College in Schenectady tonight at 7-PM to read from his works. Previous inaugural poets have included Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
Although his poems have appeared in top literary journals and anthologies, including The Nation, New Republic, Michigan Quarterly Review and The Best American Poetry, Blanco was not widely known until he was chosen by President Barack Obama as the inaugural poet.
Obama selected Blanco because his “deeply personal poems are rooted in the idea of what it means to be an American.” Blanco became the first immigrant, the first Latino and the first openly gay person to be named the inaugural poet. At the inauguration, Blanco read his poem, One Today – which is being released in book form today.
In his book, Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America, novelist Christopher Bram chronicles the rise of gay consciousness in American writing. Beginning with a first wave of major gay literary figures -Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Allen Ginsberg, and James Baldwin - he shows how they set the stage for new generations of gay writers to build on what they had begun.
In the spring of 2009, John Schwartz got a distress call from his wife. His 13-year old son, Joe, was on his way to the hospital after a failed suicide attempt.
Joe, a socially awkward but smart boy, had finally mustered the courage to come out as gay to his classmates who responded with discomfort and dismay. Hours later, he took dozens of Benadryl capsules with the intention of killing himself.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. This morning, we talk with one of the activists who worked so hard to seek the repeal. In early 2006, Alexander Nicholson, the founder of the largest organization for gay and lesbian servicemembers—Servicemembers United—along with fellow former military members who had also been discharged under DADT, toured the United States, speaking about the destructive policy at American Legion posts, on radio talk shows, and at press conferences across the South and both coasts.
The Eighth Annual Pride March and Festival sponsored by the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center steps off on Sunday, June 3rd on Main Street in New Paltz. We learn more about it and the other work Hudson Valley LGBTQ does from Virginia Apuzzo (Founding President and Life Time Board Member) and Jan Whitman (Founding Board Member).