When Winslow Junior High School teacher Lisa Ericson heard that poet Richard Blanco was coming to Waterville, she was determined to get him to come across the river to speak to her students.

That commitment paid off when Blanco agreed to visit on Tuesday.

“I’m thrilled to death,” Ericson said.

As for Blanco, he was glad of the opportunity to help demystify poetry and highlight its relevance.

“Writing is just as important as math and as physics,” he said in a phone interview Thursday. “I just hope (the students) walk away a little less scared of poetry, and realize that poetry is an art with multiple voices.

“I want to turn them on to poetry.”

Ericson is a friend of Ellen Richmond, the owner of the Children’s Book Cellar on Main Street in Waterville, who lobbied for months to get Blanco to speak at the Waterville Opera House.

Blanco will read from “One Today,” which he wrote for President Obama’s second-term inauguration in 2013. Blanco is coming to Waterville to promote a version of the poem that he has made into a book for children.

In the afternoon before his Opera House appearance, Blanco will speak to the Winslow Junior High School student body, as well as the Winslow High School freshmen and the high school creative writing class. Ericson wanted to invite Waterville Junior High School students, but there wasn’t enough space in the auditorium.

Blanco believes that poetry is just as relevant to children and teenagers as it is to adults. Because poetry is such a vast art form, like music, Blanco said, it can be perceived in different ways by different people, especially depending on the age of the reader or listener.

“With a poem, like any art form, there are many points of entry,” Blanco said. “I still read the same poems I have been reading since high school, and every time I read it I get something different out of it.”

Ericson, also writer and a poet, teaches seventh-grade English language arts. She is glad that Blanco has a connection to Maine. The son of Cuban exiles, he splits his time between Bethel and Boston.

“I love what he represents,” Ericson said.

“He has a lot to offer the state. It’s really nice to bring someone who speaks with a voice about issues of diversity,” she added. “I love the fact that our kids are being exposed to this internationally recognized writer and poet.”

Blanco will atouch on his creative process and experiences, and answer questions from students. In the lead-up to the presentation, Ericson has been talking to her students about the powerful inaugural poem, and how Blanco was able to highlight, in one composition, the unique traits that make America a unified country of individuals. Then she asked them to think about writing such a piece and reading it to a crowd of a million people, as Blanco did at the 2013 inauguration.

The poem begins:

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,

peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces

of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth

across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.

One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story

told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

The school tries to bring in a writer to speak to students every year, but Blanco “overshadows anything we have done,” she said.

Blanco is scheduled to speak at the school from 12:30 to 1 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets for his appearance at the Opera House are available by calling 873-7000 or by going to www.operahouse.org.