Juan Felipe Herrera, Current Poet Laureate
The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress
Juan Felipe Herrera was born in Fowler, California in 1948. He is the author of 28 books of poetry, novels for young adults, and collections for children, including “Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems" (2008), winner of National Book Critics Circle Award and the International Latino Book Award. His other honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, and a PEN / Beyond Margins Award. Elected a Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets in 2011, Herrera served as the Poet Laureate of California from 2012-2015.
- "La Casa de Colores": Juan Felipe Herrera's Poet Laureate Project
- View Web Guide on Juan Felipe Herrera
- Read News Release on Juan Felipe Herrera's Appointment (06/10/2015)
- Read News Release on Juan Felipe Herrera’s Reappointment (04/15/2015)
Herrera took up his duties as the 21st Poet Laureate on Tuesday, September 15, 2015—the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month—with a reading of his work at the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium. He was renewed by Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao to serve a second term as the 21st Poet Laureate at his Wednesday, April 13th closing lecture, “Pioneers of Flower and Song.”
“I see in Herrera’s poems the work of an American original—work that takes the sublimity and largesse of “Leaves of Grass” and expands upon it,” Billington says. “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.”
Herrera succeeds Charles Wright as Poet Laureate and joins a long line of distinguished poets who have served in the position including Natasha Trethewey, Philip Levine, W. S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Donald Hall, Ted Kooser, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass, and Rita Dove.