Artist Catalog

Juan Felipe Herrera

Born: December 17 1948
Born in: Fowler, California

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera (born December 27, 1948 Fowler, California) is a poet, performer, writer, cartoonist, teacher, and activist. Herrera was the United States Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017.

Herrera's experiences as the child of migrant farmers have strongly shaped his work a lot, such as the children's book Calling the Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award in 1997. Community and art have always been part of what has driven Herrera, beginning in the mid-seventies, when he was director of the Centro Cultural de la Raza, an occupied water tank in Balboa Park that had been converted into an arts space for the community.

Herrera’s publications include fourteen collections of poetry, prose, short stories, young adult novels and picture books for children with twenty-one books in total in the last decade. His 2007 volume 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007 contains texts in both Spanish and English that examine the cultural hybridity that "revolve around questions of identity" on the U.S.-Mexico border. Herrera was awarded the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for Half the World in Light. In 2012, he was appointed California Poet Laureate by Gov. Jerry Brown.

In 2011, Herrera was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2015, Herrera was appointed as the nation's first Chicana or Chicano poet laureate.

On June 11, 2016, Herrera was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Oregon State University.