Juan Felipe Herrera's expansive voice speaks to the entire community, inviting all to experience the astonishing liveliness of poetry in our time.
Juan Felipe Herrera is the current (2015-present) and first Hispanic U.S. Poet Laureate. The author of poetry, short stories, young adult novels, and children’s literature, Herrera was awarded the National Book Critic’s Award in 2009.
Herrera was born in 1948 in Fowler, California, as a son of migrant farmers, and grew up in the southern agricultural communities of the state. He graduated from San Diego High School in 1967 and earned a BA in social anthropology from UCLA, where he became involved in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement. He went on to earn a master’s in social anthropology from Stanford University and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
The author of many poetry collections and children’s books, Herrera is also a performance artist and activist for migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. He has founded several performance groups and has taught poetry, art and performance in community galleries and correctional facilities. He was appointed California Poet Laureate in 2012 and the U.S. Poet Laureate in 2015, the first Chicano to hold the title.
Herrera’s reading at Emory is part of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Reading Series, now in its 12th season. Herrera is the sixth U.S. poet laureate to be featured in the series, and the 30th reader overall.
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