More about the book

A poignant, hilarious, and inspiring memoir from the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet, which explores his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities.

Richard Blanco’s childhood and adolescence were experienced between two imaginary worlds: his parents’ nostalgic world of 1950s Cuba and his imagined America, the country he saw on reruns of The Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver—an “exotic” life he yearned for as much as he yearned to see “la patria.”

Navigating these worlds eventually led Blanco to question his cultural identity through words; in turn, his vision as a writer—as an artist—prompted the courage to accept himself as a gay man. In this moving, contemplative memoir, the 2013 inaugural poet traces his poignant, often hilarious, and quintessentially American coming-of-age and the people who influenced him.

A prismatic and lyrical narrative rich with the colors, sounds, smells, and textures of Miami, Richard Blanco’s personal narrative is a resonant account of how he discovered his authentic self and ultimately, a deeper understanding of what it means to be American. His is a singular yet universal story that beautifully illuminates the experience of “becoming;” how we are shaped by experiences, memories, and our complex stories: the humor, love, yearning, and tenderness that define a life.

*Winner of the 2015 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir and the 2015 Maine Literary Award for Memoir.

Los Angeles Review of Books review by Major Jackson
O Magazine review by Leigh Haber
Huffington Post by Joseph Erbentraut
NPR by Arun Rath

Read Excerpts


Forged from truth and grace, Blanco has crafted a deeply compelling and moving memoir about place, self and family.—Augusten Burroughs, author of This is How and Running with Scissors

The Prince of Los Cocuyos had me laughing time and again with its warm, sweetly self-deprecating portrait of an immigrant family attempting to straddle Cuban traditions and American trends.  Richard Blanco describes episodes of cultural mistranslation as funny as "I Love Lucy" reruns.  He has sustained a bulls-eye ability to recognize people's underlying nature, a kind of innocence that most of us lose as we grow up—except those who, like Blanco, grow up to become poets.—Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree

Walking into Blanco´s memoir is as familiar as walking into my own home.  Who knew it would be so familiar?  Are we related?  Do we have the same crazy relatives?  Maybe the lives of all artists are like this, and just maybe when we recognize our colleagues as ourselves, we have come home, finally, to our spiritual family.  Thank you, Richard, for this. The Prince of los Cocuyos is revelation and homecoming.—Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

I adored every minute spent with young ‘Riqui’ and his endearing extended family. And at the end⏤an ending so beautiful and throat-catching⏤I felt wonderfully drenched in love.—Monica Wood, author of When We Were the Kennedys

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