Juan Felipe Herrera


The son of migrant farm workers, Herrera was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and he earned his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His numerous poetry collections include 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007, Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (2008), and Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream (1999). In addition to publishing more than a dozen collections of poetry, Herrera has written short stories, young adult novels, and children’s literature. His most recent works for young people include Imagine (2018) and Jabberwalking (2018). In 2015 he was named U.S. poet laureate. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. His creative work often crosses genres, including poetry opera and dance theater. His children’s book, The Upside Down Boy (2000), was adapted into a musical. His books for children and young adults have won several awards, including Calling the Doves (2001), which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award, and Crashboomlove (1999), a novel-in-verse for young adults which won the Americas Award. His book Half The World in Light was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle prize in 2009. Herrera has taught at California State University-Fresno and at the University of California-Riverside, and he currently serves on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. He lives in California. Source

border fever 105.7 degrees

—for Jakelin Amei Rosemery, 7 yrs old, from Guatemala, with a fever of 105.7,

who died in custody and for 8 yr old, Felipe Gómez Alonzo, also from Guatemala,

who died under custody of Customs and Border Protection on 12-24-18.

For all migrant and immigrant children, and their families separated on the road north. 


why do you cry

those are not screams you hear across this cage

it is         a symphony — the border guards says


there is a girl               up ahead

made of sparkles         is she         me or

        is                                      she


                                              on the custody floor

                                              105.7 degrees


where do I go where did they go

where do I go to breathe no more


                     a lost flame a firefly

      dressing for freedom


where did she go






Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Doubt & Fear

Health & Illness


Poems of Place

Police Brutality

Racial Injustice

Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


a break between words within a metrical foot


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times