ITHACA, N.Y. — The Tompkins County Public Library has announced that “The Prince of Los Cocuyos” by Richard Blanco will be this year’s Community Read.

“The Prince of Los Cocuyos” is a memoir by the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet. Here’s the description provided by TCPL:

“Made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, imported to the USA” is how Blanco describes his story in shorthand. So, you would expect his memoir to be filled with stories and reflections that are completely unique to him. And, he has done just that – in a brilliant, engaging and, at times, hilarious way. However, he’s also written a story that speaks to anyone who has tried to find their place in the world and within their own family. His descriptions of family members are both vivid and yet somehow familiar, regardless of your ethnic heritage. Blanco’s stories will have you unexpectedly thinking about your own family, as well as the tales and trials that make up your personal story.

Whether speaking as the Cuban Blanco or the American Richard, the homebody or the world traveler, the shy boy or the openly gay man, the engineer or the presidential inaugural poet, Blanco’s writings possess a story-rich quality that illuminates the human spirit. His work asks those universal questions we all ask ourselves on our own journeys: Where am I from? Where do I belong? Who am I in this world?

The book will be available at the Tompkins County Public Library on Sept. 16.

The library has hosted a Community Read since 2001. According to a news release from TCPL, it is an initiative ” to engage diverse parts of the community by sharing the pleasure and intellectual stimulation of reading and discussing a selected book, while promoting literacy and open dialogue.” Past books have included “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson, “Blasphemy” by Sherman Alexie and “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut.

Many local residents have already heard the news as the book was revealed on social media by 2019 Community Read Ambassadors. More information about the book and upcoming events is available here.

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.