U.S. Poet Laureate

Presenting Juan Felipe Herrera: We Come from Everything

APRIL 21 & 22

See schedule below

Center for the Arts & Teton County Library

Leah,adultevents@tclib.org 307-733-2164 x229

Waking up is the biggest thing. I’m a political poet — let us say a human poet, a poet that’s concerned with the plight of people who suffer. If words can be of assistance, then that’s what I’m going to use. Juan Felipe Herrera 

Community Program: We Come from Everything: Poetry and Migration

The Center
7 p.m.
8 p.m.
Book signing in the lobby
All tickets have been claimed. A standby line will form at 6:45 PM. We will do our best to accommodate as many people as possible. Also, no tickets are required for Herrera's Saturday Writing Workshop at the library (details below). 

On Friday, join us for a special presentation by U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, the first Mexican American to hold this distinguished post. Herrera grew up in California as the son to migrant farmers, which shapes much of his work. He grew up singing about the Mexican Revolution with his mother, a ritual that taught him to love poetry and understand how art intertwines with politics.

Herrera’s poem, “Borderbus” has provided inspiration for a national Poetry Coalition movement spotlighting the art form’s unique ability to spark dialogue, create opportunities to engage in meaningful conversation and discover unexpected connections with each other in times of uncertainty and confusion. Now, more than ever, poetry has a positive role to play in our country. Through reading, writing, and discussing poems, we learn about one another on our most human level, inspiring empathy, compassion, and greater understanding of one another.

Excerpt from “Borderbus”:

  No somos nada y venimos de la nada
  pero esa nada lo es todo si la nutres de amor
  por eso venceremos
  We are nothing and we come from nothing
  but that nothing is everything, if you feed it with love
  that is why we will triumph

  We are everything hermana
  Because we come from everything

           -- Juan Felipe Herrera

Writing Workshop

Teton County Library

10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Find your political voice through poetry as U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera shares techniques on how to use poetic language to not only make sense of the events that we experience, but also how to shape the world into the place where we would like to live. No registration required. Location: Ordway Auditorium. Free. In Spanish & English.



Interactive Community Poem 

Craft a community poem inspired by U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera. Our Gallery walls are primed and ready for your creative input. We’ve shared a few poetic phrases, inspired by Herrera’s line “We come from everything” to get you started. The exhibit also features excerpts from Herrera's poetry collection 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border.

About 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 picture books. In 2015 he was named the 21st United States Poet Laureate, the first Mexican-American to hold the position, for which he is currently serving his second term.

About the U.S. Poet Laureate

Serving as the nation's official poet, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.  He or she is appointed to the position by the Librarian of Congress for a one-year term.

About Writers in the Schools

The Center event follows a presentation at the high school for students by Herrera, part of the library’s Writers in the Schools initiative. Teton County Library and Teton County School District collaborate on this ongoing initiative, bringing inspiring writers into direct contact with young readers and aspiring writers. Recent authors who have visited include Jack Gantos, Cornelia Funke and Chris Crutcher. Herrera’s visit is made possible by funding from the Teton County Library Foundation and The Cross Foundation.