Richard Blanco, the 2013 inaugural poet of the United States, delivered this year's Blaney Lecture at the the eighth annual Poets Forum. Blanco spoke about education, the necessity of bringing poetry to a wider audience, and described the entire inaugural process—from having to write three poems in three week to the pressures of writing a poem that speaks for the nation.

He also explained what the experience of being the inaugural poet meant to him on a personal level: "As a son of working class immigrants, of exiles, as a gay child and as a gay man, there was always a little part of me that sort of felt that I wasn't quite American, that America was some other story....The honor of reading a poem and being asked to address the entire nation made me realize that in fact my story as an immigrant, as a gay man, and every other hat that they threw on me—like so many millions with similar stories—was always the American story."

Can't get enough? Check out Carolyn Forché's celebrated lecture from 2013 or visit our YouTube channel to watch any of our eighty-five videos.