Skidmore to welcome U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera March 23
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.—U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will give a public reading at Skidmore College on Wednesday, March 23. Free and open to the public, the event will begin at 7 p.m. in Gannett Auditorium, Palamountain Hall.
In “Blood on the Wheel” by Herrera, blood is the motif. The rhythmic litany weaves imagery of blood through the lives of migrants and laborers, women and children, prostitutes and hoodlums, Mexicans and Bosnians. Herrera’s other poems are spare, or partly prose, or as much visual as verbal—a diversity he will bring to his March 23 reading.
The son of migrant farm workers, Herrera has won numerous honors for his poetry and novels, as well as his performance art and activism on behalf of migrants, at-risk youth, and others. He was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and earned an 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). He became the 21st U.S. Poet Laureate in 2015.
Professor Viviana Rangil organized his Skidmore visit. She predicts students across the college will enjoy Herrera’s public reading because “his poetry is very socially conscious and up to the minute with international news and issues. He’s also a performer, he has written books for children as well as adults, and he writes in both English and Spanish. He writes for a wide range of poetic tastes.”
His time on campus will include a brown-bag lunch session, where he’ll interact with students from Rangil’s course as well as from an international affairs course on the U.S.-Mexico border, a study of Latino/a history, and courses in Spanish and Latin American studies.
The March 23 public event will include the awarding of an honorary degree from Skidmore. A Q&A with the audience will follow the poetry reading. Afterward, at a reception in the lobby, Northshire Bookstore of Saratoga Springs will cohost a book signing by the author.
Contact Andrea J. Wise at 518-580-5736 with questions.