Juan Filipe Hererra
Herrera served as California Poet Laureate from 2012-2014. As the state poet laureate, Herrera created the i-Promise Joanna Project, an anti-bullying poetry project. Joanna was an elementary school girl who was bullied and killed in an after school fight in Long Beach. The first half asks students to send in poems about experiences and effects of bullying. The second half of the project is to take action in preventing bullying. Other projects included Answer Cancer with a Poem, Show Me Your Papers, and The Most Incredible and Biggest Poem on Unity in the World. Herrera grew up in California as the son to migrant farmers, which he has commented strongly shaped much of his work. He is the author of thirty books, including collections of poetry, prose, short stories, young adult novels and picture books for children. His collections of poetry include Every Day We Get More Illegal (City Lights, 2020), Notes of the Assemblage (City Lights, 2015), and Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (2008). In 2014, he released the nonfiction work Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes (Dial). His book Jabberwalking, a children’s book focused on turning your wonder at the world around you into weird, wild, incandescent poetry, came out in 2018. In 2015 Juan Felipe Herrera was appointed the 21st United States Poet Laureate, the first Mexican American to hold the position.