The Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute presents U.S. Poet Laureate Juan
Felipe Herrera reading from his featured bilingual works, including
Notes of the Assemblage, at Seton Hall University on Monday, April 11,
at 6 p.m. in Jubilee Auditorium.
The son of migrant farm workers, Herrera was appointed the nation’s
first Mexican-American Poet Laureate in 2015, also serving as
California’s poet laureate from 2012-2014. A performance artist and
activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk
youth, he writes passionately about social issues. His influences
include Allen Ginsberg and Luis Valdez and his own immersion in the
Chicano Civil Rights Movement.
Herrera’s work crosses creative genres, including opera and dance
theater, such as 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Borders, which
chronicles his involvement with spoken word and street movement
performance troupes across the country.
"As a Latina I feel very proud that the outstanding and prolific
work of this humble Chicano has been recognized by the Library of
Congress, making him the first Latino to receive this distinction. I
can't wait to listen to his poetry both in English and in Spanish," said
Denisse Oller, Executive Director of the Joseph A. Unanue Latino
Institute, inviting the community to this free event.
Herrera was honored in February with the L.A. Times Robert Kirsch
Award for lifetime achievement. In presenting the award, Book Prizes
Director Robert Turan noted, “we are delighted to honor Juan Felipe
Herrera’s remarkable 45-year career as a writer, teacher, and activist.
His literary contributions include poetry, prose, young adult novels and
children’s literature, and his work in all artistic forms highlights a
life dedicated to giving voice to those who are not always heard.”
Herrera has received fellowships and grants from the National
Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the University of
California at Berkeley, the Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference,
the Stanford Chicano Fellows Program, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He
was educated at UCLA and Stanford University in Social Anthropology and
receive his MFA from the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. He has
taught at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and served as chair
of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department at CSU-Fresno,
recently retiring from the Creative Writing Department at UC Riverside.
This event is being presented in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Lecture Series, Poetry-in-the-Round, the Department of English, Latin American and Latino/Latina Studies, and the School of Diplomacy and International Relations. Following the reading and discussion, there will be a book-signing with the author.