U.S. Poet Laureate, 2015-2017
Juan Felipe Herrera was born in Fowler, California, in 1948. He is the author of 30 books of poetry, novels for young adults, and collections for children, including Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (2008), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the International Latino Book Award. Herrera has also published 11 books of young adult and children’s books, including most recently Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes (2014), a picture book showcasing inspiring Hispanic and Latino Americans. His honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, a PEN / Beyond Margins Award, a PEN USA National Poetry Award, a PEN Oakland / Josephine Miles Award, two Américas Awards, two Pura Belpré Author Honor Awards, the Independent Publisher Book Award, and the Ezra Jack Keats Award. Elected a Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets in 2011, Herrera served as the Poet Laureate of California from 2012-2015. In 2016, he was awarded the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement at the 36th L.A. Times Book Prizes.
Herrera has served as the chair of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department at California State University Fresno and held the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair in the Creative Writing Department at the University of California, Riverside, where he taught until retiring in 2015. He lives in Fresno, CA.
Poet Laureate Projects
- “La Casa de Colores”
- “The Technicolor Adventures of Catalina Neon”
- “Wordstreet Champions and Brave Builders of the Dream”