Juan Felipe Herrera Appointed U.S. Poet Laureate

Posted on July 9, 2015

Juan Felipe Herrera was appointed U.S. Poet Laureate last month. He is the first Latino U.S. Poet Laureate. Herrera was appointed by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. He succeeds Charles Wright who was poet laureate from 2014 to 2015.

Herrera will begin his term this fall. He will participate in the Library of Congress National Book Festival on Saturday, September 5. He will also open the Library's annual literary season with a read at the Coolidge Auditorium on Tuesday, September 15.

Herrera says in a statement, "This is a mega-honor for me, for my family and my parents who came up north before and after the Mexican Revolution of 1910-the honor is bigger than me. I want to take everything I have in me, weave it, merge it with the beauty that is in the Library of Congress, all the resources, the guidance of the staff and departments, and launch it with the heart-shaped dreams of the people. It is a miracle of many of us coming together."

Herrera has written 28 books of poetry, young adult novels and children's collections. His most recent poetry collection is Senegal Taxi, which was published in 2013. He published a picture book about inspirational Hispanic and Latino Americans in 2014 called Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes. Herrera has also authored a book of poems for children called Laughing Out Loud, I Fly.

Hererra served as the Poet Laureate of California from 2012-2015. He has won multiple poetry awards including Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, a PEN USA National Poetry Award, the PEN Oakland / Josephine Miles Award and a PEN / Beyond Margins Award. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a bachelor's degree in social anthropology. He then obtained a master's degree in social anthropology from Stanford University. He also received a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1990.

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