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

America We Talk About It

Summer Journals — August 8, 2017


— every day of the week. It is not easy. First I had to learn. Over

decades — to take care of myself. Are you listening. I had to

learn. I had to gain, pebble by pebble, seashell by seashell, the

courage to listen to my self. My true inner self. For that I had to

push you aside. It was not easy I had pushed aside my mother

my father my self in that artificial stairway of becoming you to

be inside of you — after years I realized perhaps too late there

was no way I could bring them back I could not rewind the

clock. But I did — I could do one thing. I could care. Now we

— are here.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Poetic Form


Literary Devices:

Bleeding Title

when the title of a poem acts as the first line


a break between words within a metrical foot