Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. poet laureate consultant in poetry, has been appointed a second term – an appointment announced, then celebrated in the Coolidge Auditorium on Wednesday night.
“What a great joy, what a great joy this is,” Herrera, the 21st laureate, told the audience. “How beautiful it is to be here. How beautiful the Library of Congress is. How fabulous are the materials – the archives, the manuscripts, the paintings, the prints.”
During his first term, Herrera launched the “La Casa de Colores” project, which invited the public to contribute verses to a poem about the American experience. For his second term, he will develop a new project to be announced later this summer.
At Wednesday’s event, which also served to close out Herrera’s first term as poet laureate, he had two up-and-coming “poet laureate chicas” – 11-year-old Sarita Sol Gonzalez and 12-year-old Elena Medina – join him on stage to read not only their poems but a poem the three had composed together.
Mark Harsell, editor of the Library of Congress staff newsletter, The Gazette, contributed to this report.