Debra Vazquez Memorial Poetry Series

Image of the CF Debra Vazquez Memorial Poetry Series LogoThe Debra Vazquez Memorial Poetry Series was created by faculty and staff to honor the memory of English professor Debra Vazquez who taught English, literature, and creative writing at CF for many years. Professor Vazquez established Imprints, the student literary magazine, as one of the best in the state and served as its faculty advisor until 2004. Every year, CF brings writers of literary stature to the Ocala Campus for free performances for faculty, staff and the surrounding community.

Since 2004, the series has welcomed United States Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, Li Young Li, Kay Ryan, and Marilyn Taylor. The Debra Vazquez Memorial Poetry Series has been a creative and energetic force that has engendered collaboration between faculty, facilitated interactions with our students, and connected us to artists and colleagues in the community and across the country. 

2019 Poet: Richard Blanco

The Debra Vazquez Memorial Poetry Series presents poet Richard Blanco Feb. 27-28.

Blanco will read from his collection at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building 8 and at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Dassance Fine Arts Auditorium, at the CF Ocala Campus. Tickets are not required and entry is free at both readings.

Blanco is the fifth presidential inaugural poet in U.S. history – the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in this role. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity characterizes his body of work.

He is the author of the memoirs “The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood,” and “For All of Us One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey;” the poetry chapbooks “Matters of the Sea” and “Boston Strong;” the poetry collections “Looking for the Gulf Motel,” “directors to the Beach of the Dead,” and “City of a Hundred Fires.”

A new book of poems, “How to Love a Country,” is forthcoming from Beacon Press in April 2019. Blanco has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. He has been a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and received honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College and the University of Rhode Island. He has continued to write occasional poems for organizations and events such as the re-opening of the U.S. embassy in Havana.

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