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Selected Poems by Juan Felipes Herrera


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University of Arizona Press author Juan Felipe Herrera appointed Poet Laureate

The Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of University of Arizona Press author Juan Felipe Herrera as the nation’s 21st Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2015–2016.

“I see in Herrera’s poems the work of an American original,” 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, traditions, and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity.”

Herrera, who will assume duties in the fall, said of the appointment, “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.”

The son of migrant farm workers, Herrera attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and Stanford University, and received a master of fine arts from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. For his poetry, Herrera has received two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, a PEN USA National Poetry Award, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award, a PEN/Beyond Margins Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Stanford University Chicano Fellows. Elected as a chancellor for the Academy of American Poets in 2011, he also served as the Poet Laureate of California from 2012 to 2015.

Herrera has published seven collections with the University of Arizona Press, including Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (2008), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the International Latino Book Award. His longstanding relationship with the University of Arizona Press began in 1994, when he became the inaugural author of the award-winning Camino del Sol Latina/Latino literary series. His latest work, Senegal Taxi, was published by the University of Arizona Press in 2013.

“We are so thrilled to see Juan Felipe Herrera receive this prestigious appointment,” said University of Arizona Press director Kathryn Conrad. “His work gives voice to the voiceless and speaks to readers all over the world. We are honored to be one of the publishers of his transformative work.”

As one of the first publishers to spotlight poetry, fiction, and essays from both emerging and established voices in Latina/Latino literature, the University of Arizona Press and its critically acclaimed Camino del Sol series has provided a literary home for writers such as Juan Felipe Herrera, Ray Gonzalez, Demetria Martinez, Patricia Preciado Martin, Richard Blanco, Sergio Troncoso, and Luis Alberto Urrea, among many others.

Established in 1959, the University of Arizona Press is the premier publisher of academic, regional, and literary works in the state of Arizona. Through its publishing program, the Press seeks to enrich the University of Arizona’s mission by connecting scholarship and creative expression to readers worldwide.

Photo courtesy UC-Riverside


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