The Library of Congress announced today that Mexican American poet Juan Felipe Herrara will succeed Charles Wright as the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States.
Herrara is currently the Poet Laureate of his home state California and will officially become U.S. Poet Laureate with a reading at the commencement of Hispanic Heritage Month on September 15.
“I see in Herrera’s poems the work of an American original—work that takes the sublimity and largesse of Leaves of Grass and expands upon it,” says Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “His poems engage in a serious sense of play — in language and in image — that I feel gives them enduring power. I see how they champion voices and traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity.”
Born in Fowler, California in 1948, Juan Felipe Herrara is the author of 28 books of poetry, including his 2008 collection, Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the International Latino Book Award.