Juan Felipe Herrera Becomes First Hispanic US Poet Laureate

Juan Felipe Herrera Becomes First Hispanic US Poet Laureate


The Library of Congress has named its latest US poet laureate and its none other than Juan Felipe Herrera.

Juan Felipe Herrera is the first Hispanic in history to become the US poet laureate. Herrera previously ended his time as the California poet laureate and his work with young writers gained the attention of people in Washington. 

The 66 years old veteran poet shared how when he was inspired by poetry. It all started for the 21 year old when the aspiring poet Herrera was walking in a library and the title ‘Snaps’ caught his eye.

The book was written by Victor Hernandez Cruz and consisted of an amazing Puerto Rican bilingual English style, which always remained in Herrera’s mind. In 2012 Herrera finally sat down with his inspiration Victor Hernandez Cruz at the Academy of American Poets in New York City as a chancellor however even more prestigious turn of events were waiting for Herrera 45 years later. 

On Wednesday Herrera was announced as the U.S. poet laureate by the Library of Congress. Herrera will be making history when he will start his tenure in September as the first Hispanic U.S. poet laureate ever. Herrera’s work will be based upon both English and Spanish the languages of his youth. 

Herrera’s parents were both migrants from Mexico who landed in California in the early 20th century. Herrera received the opportunity of attending UCLA through the Educational Opportunity Program for disadvantaged students.

Herrera then went on to receive a Social Anthropology Master’s degree from Stanford in the 70’s but his passion was in writing. The first step Herrera took towards writing was in 1988 when he went to the Writers’ Workshop for poetry and since then Herrera has developed into an expert in litanies, poems, sonnets, plays and books about protests, children, young adults etc. 

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