Appearing courtesy of the University of Arizona Poetry Center
Appointed as the U.S. Poet Laureate in 2015, Juan Felipe Herrera is the son of migrant farm workers, and was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and received his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. His numerous poetry collections include: Notes on the Assemblage (2015) 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border (2008), Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (2008), Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream (1999) and Senegal Taxi (2013). In addition to publishing more than a dozen collections of poetry, Herrera has written short stories, young adult novels, and children's literature.
Herrera was named California's poet laureate in 2012. He has won the Hungry Mind Award of Distinction, the Focal Award, two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, and a PEN West Poetry Award. His honors include the UC Berkeley Regent s Fellowship as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and the Stanford Chicano Fellows. He has received several grants from the California Arts Council.
Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. His creative work often crosses genres, including poetry opera and dance theater. His children s book, The Upside Down Boy (2000), was adapted into a musical. His books for children and young adults have won several awards, including Calling the Doves (2001), which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award, and Crashbomlove (1999), a novel-in-verse for young adults which won the Americas Award. His book, Half The World in Light won the National Book Critics Circle prize in 2009.