Poet Laureate Pays a digital visit to PC

Juan Felipe Herrera

Former United States and California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera paid a virtual visit to PC this week as part of the PC Poets and Writers Speaker Series.

Herrera captivated a "virtual packed house" on zoom as well as an IRL packed house in the SCCR where students gathered to watch the presentation together.

During his presentation, he told stories about his childhood and his experiences as a young and developing writer and read from his various works as a way to encourage students to "Share their Voices" through writing. Mr. Herrera also discussed how he has changed as a writer over the years and how he uses that change to ensure he keeps doing the right thing with his writing. A change we should all aspire to making in our lives.

Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015-2016) and is the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012-2014, Herrera served as California State Poet Laureate. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Every Day We Get More Illegal; Notes on the Assemblage; Senegal Taxi; Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971-2007. He is also the author of Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse, which received the Americas Award. His books of prose for children include: SkateFate, Calling The Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award; Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City; and Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box. His book Jabberwalking, a children’s book focused on turning your wonder at the world around you into weird, wild, incandescent poetry, came out in 2018.

Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth.