Amy Goodman

First Latino U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera on Migrant Farmworkers, the Border, and Ayotzinapa

2015-10-09T02:52:54-07:00

"Democracy Now!" airs weekdays at 9 a.m. PT on KCET.

"Democracy Now!" speaks with Juan Felipe Herrera, who has begun his term as the 21st poet laureate of the United States. A son of Mexican migrant farm workers, Herrera is the first Latino poet laureate of the United States. Written in both English and Spanish, his work has been celebrated over the past four decades for its energy, humor, emotion and ability to capture the consciousness of a cross-section of America. In announcing Herrera's appointment, Library of Congress Director James H. Billington said, "I see in Herrera's poems the work of an American original--work that takes the sublimity and largesse of 'Leaves of Grass' and expands upon it. His poems...champion voices and traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity."

Herrera is the author of 28 books, including "187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border" and, mostly recently, "Notes on the Assemblage." He is a past winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the International Latino Book Award. Herrera discusses the role of poets in social movements, and reads his poem "Ayotzinapa," about the disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero, Mexico.



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