Juan Felipe Herrera served as the U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress from 2015-2017, having officially begun his term on September 18th, 2015. The links below provide more information about Herrera's activities at the Library, including webcasts, blog posts, and related news releases.
On June 10, 2015, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Juan Felipe Herrera as the 21st Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.
Herrera participated in the 2015 National Book Festival, which took place on September 5. His inaugural reading as Poet Laureate occurred in the Library's Coolidge Auditorium on Tuesday, September 15, 2015. He spent much of his first term as Laureate traveling across the country conducting reading, lectures, and workshops with students and members of the general public. In all, Herrera made some 130 official appearances during his two terms as Laureate.
Herrera's national project during his first term as Poet Laureate was "La Casa de Colores" ("the House of Colors"). This project included two major features. First, Americans were invited to contribute a verse to an "epic poem" about the American experience. The resulting poem, titled "La Familia" ("The Family"), unfolded monthly, with a new theme each month about an aspect of American life, values, or culture. "El Jardín" ("The Garden"), the second major component of his project, included videos of Herrera's interaction with specific items and collections throughout the Library, along with his written responses to each interaction and curator comments.
Herrera was appointed to a second term as Poet Laureate by acting Librarian of Congress David Mao at the beginning of Herrera's end-of the-term lecture on April 13, 2016. On making a second-term appointment, Mao said;
In his first term as Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera traveled the country championing poetry; he also launched an ambitious project on the Library’s website. We look forward to seeing what Herrera will accomplish in his second term, and we know he will continue to inspire and educate with his warmth, enthusiasm, and creative genius.
Herrera’s second term featured three major projects:
Library of Congress press releases about Juan Felipe Herrera's poet laureate appointment, activities, and events are listed below.
Juan Felipe Herrera has been featured on both the Poetry and Literature Center's blog, From the Catbird Seat, and on the Library's main blog. Those blog posts are linked below:
The Library of Congress features a number of recordings of Juan Felipe Herrera reading his poetry and discussing materials in the Library's collections with Library curators and librarians. These are listed below.