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Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate, to speak at Cesar Chavez celebration

Juan Felipe Unity Poem Fiesta

“Poetry is a call to action, and it also is action.” ~ Juan Felipe Herrera

The Office of the President is proud to welcome U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera as the guest speaker for this year’s celebration in honor of Cesar Chavez. At an event co-sponsored by the Latino Staff Association (LaSA), the President’s Executive Office and the Office of Diversity and Engagement, Herrera will read from his collection of poems and discuss the legacy and impact of Cesar Chavez.

DATE: Monday, March 28
TIME: 12 – 1 p.m. (doors open at 11:45 a.m.)
LOCATION: Franklin Lobby 1

In 2015, Herrera was appointed the 21st United States Poet Laureate, the first Mexican-American to hold the position. In his statement of choice, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said Herrera’s poems “contain Whitman-esque multitudes that champion voices, traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective” that serves to illuminate our larger American identity. Herrera is also a 2008 National Book Critic Circle Award winner for “Half the World in Light” (University of Arizona Press).

Herrera grew up in California as the son of migrant farmers, which has strongly shaped much of his work. A Washington Post article tells the story that “as a child, Herrera learned to love poetry by singing about the Mexican Revolution with his mother, a migrant farmworker in California. Inspired by her spirit, he has spent his life crossing borders, erasing boundaries and expanding the American chorus.”

“The fire that appears again and again in Herrera’s poetry exists to illuminate, to make beautiful, to purify.” ~ New York Times Book Review

“Aesthetically, Herrera leaps over so many canons that he winds up on the outer limits of urban song. And spiritually, he is deep into the quest that we all must begin before it is too late.” ~ Ilan Stavans



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