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FGCU environmental center hosts cruise with Poet Richard Blanco

By Staff | Nov 20, 2013

Paul McCarthy, Mark Neveu, Richard Blanco, Peter Blaze Corcoran, Neil Wilkinson, Larry Amon, and Brian Murphy. CAROL ORR HARTMAN.

The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education hosted a successful fundraising event on Sunday, Nov. 10 aboard the Lady Chadwick of Captiva Cruises. The event themed, “Looking for The Gulf Motel: A Luncheon Cruise with Richard Blanco,” was filled with meaningful remarks, poetry, and a book signing as it cruised the inshore waters near Captiva.

The center would like to thank hosts Susan Stuart and Paul McCarthy, as well as South Seas Island Resort and McCarthy’s Marina for their generosity and support. The cruise offered an intimate and relaxed atmosphere where guests could mingle with the distinguished 2013 Presidential Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco and each another.

Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran opened up the afternoon with remarks about the center and its history of inviting celebrated writers to share their work with Southwest Florida. Then, Dr. Kris De Welde, director of Education, associate professor of Sociology at FGCU, and center senior faculty associate shared her story of identity and place as a Cuban-American with guests before Blanco came to the podium.

“His poetry connects strongly to the work we do at the center, work that explores our connections to place our physical place, our place in the communities we inhabit, and our place in a complex and rapidly changing world,” De Welde said.

Blanco’s readings touched everyone aboard the Lady Chadwick. He delved into each of his poems with extreme passion and brings his words to life for the listeners. The setting of the event worked well with the themes of Blanco’s Poetry. Sweeping panoramas of mangroves and the tranquil waters off of Captiva offered guests a view that tied into Blanco’s themes of place and added to the vivid imagery in his poems. His volume, Looking for The Gulf Motel (2012), evoked a vanishing Florida that we love, a place of ecological memories being erased.

Poet Richard Blanco addresses the audience aboard the Lady Chadwick of Captiva Cruises. CAROL ORR HARTMAN.

“I want to turn the golf courses back into mangroves,” he wrote.

For more information about the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education and its efforts to realize the dream of a sustainable future thorough scholarship, education, and action please contact us by e-mail at cese@fgcu.edu or visit our website at fgcu.edu/cese.