Richard Blanco at Capitol
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Explaining modern America in a poem

Richard Blanco, the poet chosen by President Obama to write and read a verse at his inauguration, tells the BBC how he tried to capture the essence of modern America.

Barack Obama broke a lot of barriers when he became the US's first black president. Now, for his second swearing in, he has chosen an inaugural poet who is also making history.

Richard Blanco will be the first Hispanic inaugural poet. He is the first openly gay one to read a verse at the occasion. And at the age of 44, he is also the youngest.

Blanco will follow in the footsteps of Robert Frost, who was picked by President John F Kennedy when he started the tradition in 1961, and Maya Angelou who was chosen by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

He was conceived in Cuba but born in Spain after his parents fled the Castro regime. They then emigrated to Florida where Blanco first studied and worked as an engineer before turning to poetry as a profession.

He talked to BBC Mundo's William Marquez about the poem he will read at the ceremony on the Capitol steps in Washington, DC to mark the second inauguration of President Obama.

Produced for the BBC by Marc Georges and Marcus Zeffler