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Watch Juan Felipe Herrera’s First-Term Closing Event as Poet Laureate

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The following is a guest post by Anne Holmes, a new staff member in the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center.

As we excitedly kick off another event season, we also celebrate the kickoff of Juan Felipe Herrera’s second term as U.S. Poet Laureate. In the coming weeks, we can’t wait to share what Herrera has up his sleeve for his second-term projects; just be ready as his signature exuberance and passion for collaboration—which he brought to the country through “La Casa de Colores” during his first term—continues and, if it’s even possible, cranks up the dial a few notches.

Until we announce his upcoming projects, we’re happy to tide you over with the webcast of Herrera’s first-term closing event—from April 13, 2016—now available on our website. In collaboration with Split This Rock, Herrera delivered a lecture entitled “Pioneers of Flower and Song” with this explanation prior to the event:

During the last 45 years, I have been blessed to have been in the circle of many young (as I was) migrant and immigrant poets-in-the-making. These poetry-makers were founders of what we can call the Flower and Song Chicana and Chicano Poetry Movement. Who were they? Where did they forge their words? Why would they take up such an impossible project? Their leaping, experimental, daring and compassionate strides pulled me toward Flor y Canto (flower and song), the place of full being and of becoming a poet.

At the end of the event, Herrera invited 11-year-old Sarita Sol Gonzalez (from Albuquerque, New Mexico) and 12-year old Elena Medina (from Chula Vista, California) to join him on stage—both of whom he met during his travels as Poet Laureate—to recite their own powerful poems written for the occasion, and to close the night with a piece written in collaboration with Herrera.

Click on the video below to watch our Poet Laureate and his guests take the stage with celebration, ebullience, and light.


  1. I’m so proud to have been at the closing lecture of US Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera as my granddaughter, Elena Izcalli Medina and Sarita Gonzalez shared their poems including the exquisite corpse collaboration written by the 3 of poets they recited that evening. A day of Honor I will never forget!! An EXQUISITE EVENING. #CHICALAUREATE

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