Juan Felipe Herrera Named US. Poet Laureate

  • Juan Felipe Herrera

    He will be the first Latino poet to be appointed to the position.

    “This is a mega-honor for me,” Herrera said in the announcement, “for my family and my parents who came up north before and after the Mexican Revolution of 1910 — the honor is bigger than me.”

    A poet of Chicano descent, the 66-year-old has spent just about his whole life on the West Coast. Born to a family of migrant farmworkers, Herrera bounced from tent to trailer for much of his youth in Southern California, eventually going on to study at UCLA and Stanford.



  • Selected poems (NYtimes)


    1. Go back to the grain yellow hills where the broken speak of elegance
    2. Walk up to the canvas door, the short bed stretched against the clouds
    3. Beneath the earth, an ant writes with the grace of a governor
    4. Blow, blow Red Tail Hawk, your hidden sleeve—your desert secrets
    5. You are there, almost, without a name, without a body, go now
    6. I said five, said five like a guitar says six.

  • My Father’s Day Tale by Juan Felipe Herrera (youtube)


    Odd to be a half-Mexican, let me put it this way
    I am Mexican + Mexican, then there’s the question of the half
    To say Mexican without the half, well it means another thing
    One could say only Mexican
    Then think of pyramids – obsidian flaw, flame etchings, goddesses with
    Flayed visages claw feet & skulls as belts – these are not Mexican
    They are existences, that is to say
    Slavery, sinew, hearts shredded sacrifices for the continuum
    Quarks & galaxies, the cosmic milk that flows into trees
    Then darkness
    What is the other – yes
    It is Mexican too, yet it is formless, it is speckled with particles
    European pieces? To say colony or power is incorrect
    Better to think of Kant in his tiny room
    Shuffling in his black socks seeking out the notion of time
    Or Einstein re-working the erroneous equation
    Concerning the way light bends – all this has to do with
    The half, the half-thing when you are a half-being



    How they stalk you & how you beseech them
    All this becomes your life-long project, that is
    You are Mexican. One half Mexican the other half
    Mexican, then the half against itself.


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