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Juan Felipe Herrera. (Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr,)

California Appoints Its First Latino Poet Laureate

by Eyder Peralta
Mar 22, 2012

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Eyder Peralta

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We don't usually dabble in arts news, but we thought we'd pass along this piece of news from California, home to 13.7 million Latinos.

Gov. Edmund Brown has appointed Juan Felipe Herrera as California's Poet Laureate. Herrera, 63, becomes the first Latino to be appointed to the position, which requires senate confirmation.

Here's how Brown's office described Herrera in its press release:

"Herrera's work has received wide critical acclaim including numerous national and international awards. In a 2008 review of his work, Stephen Burt of The New York Times wrote, 'All life, all art, involves boundaries, if only those of birth and death. Some poets keep us conscious of those boundaries; others, like Herrera, discover their powers by defying them. Many poets since the 1960s have dreamed of a new hybrid art, part oral, part written, part English, part something else: an art grounded in ethnic identity, fueled by collective pride, yet irreducibly individual too. Many poets have tried to create such an art: Herrera is one of the first to succeed.'"

According to The Los Angeles Times, Herrera is the son of Mexican migrant workers.

If you're interested in Herrera's work, the Poetry Foundation has a few of his poems.

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