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Juan Felipe Herrera (poet) - USA - Poetry International
 
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Juan Felipe Herrera
(United States, 1948)   
 
 
 
Juan Felipe Herrera

The son of migrant farm workers, Juan Felipe Herrera was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and he earned his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His numerous poetry collections include Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (2008), 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007 (2007), and Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream (1999). In addition to publishing more than a dozen collections of poetry, Herrera has written short stories, young adult novels, and children’s literature. In 2015 he was named U.S. poet laureate.

In a 2004 interview at CSU-Fresno, Herrera noted the influences of three distinct Californias – the small agricultural towns of the San Joaquin Valley he knew as a child, San Diego's Logan Heights, and San Francisco's Mission District, on his work. He said: "All these landscapes became stories, and all those languages became voices in my writing, all those visuals became colors and shapes, which made me more human and gave me a wide panorama to work from."

Herrera's poetry brims with simultaneity and exuberance, and often takes shape in mural-like, rather than narrative, frames. Critic Stephen Burt praised Herrera in the New York Times as one of the first poets to successfully create "a new hybrid art, part oral, part written, part English, part something else: an art grounded in ethnic identity, fueled by collective pride, yet irreducibly individual too."

            We were separated from something we
            Could not describe yet we were in
            The totality in the long winding turquoise
            That broke us & put us back together
            Again. What was that totality? It could
            Not be written – Green moon, green blood – 
            We wrote.
            –from Mind Core

In 2012, Herrera, an activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth, was named California's poet laureate, and in 2015 U.S. poet laureate. He has won the Hungry Mind Award of Distinction, the Focal Award, two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, and a PEN West Poetry Award. His honors include the UC Berkeley Regent's Fellowship as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Stanford Chicano Fellows. He has also received several grants from the California Arts Council.

The poet's creative work often crosses genres, including poetry opera and dance theater, and he is also a performance artist. His children's book, The Upside Down Boy (2000), has been adapted into a musical. Other of his books for children and young adults are also prize winners, including Calling the Doves (2001), awarded the Ezra Jack Keats Award, and Crashboomlove (1999), a novel-in-verse for young adults which won the Americas Award. His book Half The World in Light was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle prize in 2009.

Herrera has taught at California State University-Fresno and at the University of California-Riverside, and he currently serves on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. He lives in California.

© PoetryFoundation.org

Selected Bibliography

Poetry
Notes on the Assemblage, City Lights Books, San Francisco, 2015
Senegal Taxi, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 2013
Half of the World In Light: New and Selected Poems, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 2008
187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border: Undocuments, 1971-2007, City Lights, San Francisco, 2007
Giraffe on Fire: Poems, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 2001
Thunderweavers, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 2000
CrashBoomLove: A Novel in Verse, University of New Mexico Press, Alburquerque, 1999
Border-crossing with a Lamborghini Dream, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1999
Lotería Cards and Fortune Poems: A Book of Lives (linocuts by Artemio Rodríguez), City Lights, San Francisco, 1999
Mayan Drifter: Chicano Poet in the Lowlands of America, Temple University Press, 1997
Love After the Riots, Curbstone Press, Willimantic, CT, 1996
The Roots of a Thousand Embraces: Dialogues, Manic D Press, San Francsico, 1994
Night Train to Tuxtula, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1994
Memoria(s) from an Exile's Notebook of the Future, Santa Monica College Press, Santa Monica, 1993
Akrílica, Alcatraz Editions, Santa Cruz, CA, 1989
Exiles of Desire, Arte Publico Press, Houston, 1985
Poetry Rebozos of Love, Tolteca, 1974

Children and Young Adult
Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes, Dial Books, New York, 2014
SkateFate, Rayo, New York, 2011
The Upside Down Boy (El niño de cabeza), Children's Book Press, San Francisco, 2006
Cinnamon Girl, Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box, HarperCollins, New York, 2005
Downtown Boy, Scholastic, New York, 2005
Featherless (desplumado), Children's Book Press, San Francisco, 2004
Super Cilantro Girl (La Supernina del cilantro), Children's Book Press, San Francisco, 2003
Grandma and Me at the Flea (Los meros meros remateros), Children's Book Press, 2002
Laughing Out Loud, I Fly: Poems in English and Spanish, HarperCollins, New York 1998
Calling the Doves (El canto de las palomas), Childrens Book Press, San Francisco 1997

Links
Juan Felipe Herrera 101 by Benjamin Voigt, Poetry Foundation
Juan Felipe Herrera: Blood on the Wheel, Poem Guide by Stephen Burt, Poetry Foundation
Reclaiming the Sleepless Volcano: How Celebrated Chicano poet Juan Felipe Herrera found his voice, by Milan Gagnon, Poetry Foundation
Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings by Juan Felipe Herrera, Poetry Foundation (audio)
[Let Us Gather in a Flourishing Way] by Juan Felipe Herrera, Poetry Foundation (audio)
The Next Poet Laureate, Poetry Foundation (audio)
We Must Act But How? A Conversation with Juan Felipe Herrera, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 by David Lau, Poetry Foundation
Juan Felipe Herrera on NPR's Morning Edition (audio)
Juan Felipe Herrera on Poetry In Tough Times, NPR
First Latino US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera on Migrant Farmworkers, the Border and Ayotzinapa and Part 2, DemocracyNow (video)

 



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