New York, NY (November 17, 2020)— The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that award-winning poet Richard Blanco will judge its 2021 Inaugural Poem Contest for Students. In 2013, Blanco was commissioned by President Barack Obama to write and deliver a poem at his second Inauguration, making Blanco the fifth and one of only five poets in American history to do so. He currently serves as the Education Ambassador of the Academy of American Poets.

Blanco’s inaugural poem, “One Today,” was featured in his memoir, For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet's Journey (Beacon Press, 2013), and was published as a children’s book illustrated by Dav Pilkey (Little, Brown, 2015).

Submissions to the 2021 Inaugural Poem Contest for Students will be accepted online from November 30 through December 30, 2020, and the winner will be announced in January 2021. Students living in the United States, U.S. Territories, or Tribal Nations and 18 years old or under are eligible to submit. Three students’ poems will be selected and featured on and in American Poets magazine, and each winning student will receive a cash prize. 

For more information about the contest, including the full guidelines, visit:

About Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco is the the author of six poetry collections, including How to Love a Country (Beacon Press, 2019); Boundaries (Two Ponds Press, 2017), featuring photography by Jacob Bond Hessler; Directions to the Beach of the Dead (University of Arizona Press, 2005), winner of the 2006 PEN/American Center Beyond Margins Award; and City of a Hundred Fires (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998), winner of the 1997 Agnes Lynch Starrett National Poetry Prize. He is also the author of the Lambda Literary Award-winning memoir, The Prince of los Cocuyos (Ecco Press, 2014), and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey (Beacon Press, 2013). He is the recipient of two Florida Artist Fellowships, a Residency Fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the John Ciardi Fellowship from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. He is currently a distinguished visiting professor at Florida International University. In 2013, Richard Blanco was selected to read at Barack Obama's second Presidential Inauguration. 

About the Academy of American Poets

The Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with supporters in all fifty states. Founded in 1934, the organization annually awards more funds to individual poets than any other organization through its prize program, giving a total of $1,250,000 to more than 200 poets at various stages of their careers. The Academy also produces, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; originated and organizes National Poetry Month; publishes the popular Poem-a-Day series and American Poets magazine; provides award-winning resources to K–12 educators, including the Teach This Poem series; hosts an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and coordinates a national Poetry Coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to the country’s culture. This year, in response to the global health crisis, the organization joined six other national organizations to launch Artist Relief, a multidisciplinary coalition of arts grantmakers and a consortium of foundations working to provide resources and funding to the country’s individual poets, writers, and artists who are impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.