The following is a guest post by Rob Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress.
I write you now, still recovering from Juan Felipe Herrera’s first couple of weeks as our 21st Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. His laureateship kicked off at the National Book Festival, where he read from his book Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes to a packed audience in the Children’s Pavilion. On Tuesday night he again took the stage, at the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium, for his opening reading—Ron Charles wrote a synopsis of the event that brought tears to my eyes.
In between the two readings, Juan Felipe spent days viewing collections in the Library’s American Folklife Center, Hispanic Division, and Prints and Photographs Division, and we shot video for each. This video will be a part of a web feature called “El Jardin,” which we will launch soon on the PLC website.
That’s not my big news, though: today I am delighted to let you know about the Laureate’s other web feature, as part of his project “La Casa de Colores“: an epic poem called “La Familia.” For this poem, the Laureate is calling for submissions of up to 200 characters each, on monthly themes.
For the first time, the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry is asking for anyone and everyone to help him create a poem. And the page is up online! So please submit, and help us get the word out—we want as many voices as possible to join the family! We already got submissions from Mexico City, Los Angeles, Boston, and Little River, Kansas . . . hopefully soon all 50 states will be represented, as well as countries around the world.