Juan Felipe Herrera tapped for a second term as U.S. poet laureate
Just about a month ago, U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera charmed an audience with a reading at the Palladium in St. Petersburg.
The Library of Congress seems to like him, too -- on Wednesday night, at a ceremony at the library in Washington, D.C., Herrera was named poet laureate for a second year.
The event was supposed to be his final lecture at the end of his one-year term. Poets laureate typically serve a one-year term in the honorary position, although some have been apointed to additional years.
Acting Librarian of Congress David Mao announced Herrera's reappointment, saying, “In his first term as laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera traveled the country championing poetry. We know he will continue to inspire and educate with his warmth, enthusiasm and creative genius.”
In an interview before he came to St. Petersburg, Herrera, the first Mexican-American poet laureate, said that one of the best things about the position was the opportunity to meet so many different kinds of people who are passionate about poetry.
A children's book author as well as a poet, playwright, artist and musician, Herrera, 67, enjoys working with young people. In his travels during the past year, he met two young poets, Sarita Sol Gonzalez, 11, of Albuquerque, N.M., and Elena Medina, 12, of Chula Vista, Calif., who especially impressed him. He worked with the Library of Congress to arrange for both girls and their families to attend the ceremony and read with him on stage in Washington Wednesday night.
For his second term, Herrera told the Washington Post, he's thinking about initiating “a superhero story for children” that they could help write chapter by chapter online.
And he hopes to keep traveling and meeting writers and readers: “I just notice everybody loving poetry and writing — new ideas and tender hearts, radically different points of view about writing that I really haven’t thought about.”