Juan Felipe Herrera: First Latino US Poet Laureate


On June 10, 2015, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Juan Felipe Herrera as the 21st US Poet Laureate.  Dr. Billington said, “His poems engage in a serious sense of play—in language and in image–that I feel gives them enduring power. I see how they champion voices and traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity.”

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrara, Photo by Tomas Ovalle / Los Angeles Times

Juan Felipe Herrera has published more than a dozen collections of poetry, as well as award-winning fiction, and nonfiction for children and young adults.  Herrera’s poetry is featured in the collection Camino del sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing
(PS 508 .H57 C36 2010) which is currently available in the library.  The library has some of Mr. Herrera’s poetry collections on order.

The new poet laureate has degrees from UCLA, Stanford and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and is currently teaching at the University of Washington.

In a recent Washington Post article, Herrera says, “I’m here to encourage others to speak, to speak out and speak up and write with their voices and their family stories and their sense of humor and their deep concerns and their way of speaking their own languages. I want to encourage people to do that with this amazing medium called poetry.”

Herrera will begin his appointment as the 21st US Poet Laureate at the National Book Festival in September in Washington, DC.

To learn more about Juan Felipe Herrera and to read some of his poetry, visit: https://onpoint.wbur.org/2015/06/23/juan-felipe-herrera-poet-laureate