Juan Felipe Herrera

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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

Five Directions to My House

1. Go back to the grain yellow hills where the broken speak of elegance

2. Walk up to the canvas door, the short bed stretched against the clouds

3. Beneath the earth, an ant writes with the grace of a governor

4. Blow, blow Red Tail Hawk, your hidden sleeve—your desert secrets

5. You are there, almost, without a name, without a body, go now

6. I said five, said five like a guitar says six. 

Published:

2008

Length:

Shorty

Literary Movements:

Contemporary

Anthology Years:

2022

Themes:

Intersectionality & Culture

Poetic Form

Literary Devices:

Imagery

visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work

Imperative

an instruction or a command

List Poem

A list poem features an inventory of people, places, things, or ideas organized in a particular way, usually numbered.

Metaphor

a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic