Sub­texts U.S. poet lau­re­ate Juan Felipe Her­rera cel­e­brates the work of So­mos Un Pue­blo Unido, a statewide im­mi­grant-led civil and work­ers’ rights or­ga­ni­za­tion

Border bard: Juan Felipe Her­rera

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO -

Cur­rent U.S. poet lau­re­ate Juan Felipe Her­rera reads at 6 p.m. on Satur­day, Dec. 5, at the Len­sic Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter (211 W. San Francisco St.). The read­ing, which is fol­lowed by a con­ver­sa­tion with Santa Fe poet lau­re­ate emerita Va­lerie Martínez, is the fi­nal event in a year of 20th-an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of So­mos Un Pue­blo Unido, a statewide im­mi­grant-led civil and work­ers’ rights or­ga­ni­za­tion head­quar­tered in Santa Fe. Her­rera, the first Chi­cano to be named poet lau­re­ate of the United States, is the son of mi­grant farm­work­ers. He grew up in Cal­i­for­nia, at­tended UCLA and Stan­ford Univer­sity, and went on to earn his MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writ­ers’ Work­shop. He has pub­lished dozens of books, in­clud­ing books for chil­dren and young adults. His most re­cent works are Half the World in Light (Univer­sity of Ari­zona Press, 2008), Un­doc­u­ments, 1971-2007 (City Lights, 2007), and 187 Rea­sons Mex­i­canos Can’t Cross the Border (City Lights, 2007). Her­rera is known for his bilin­gual col­lage style of writ­ing, where read­ing the po­ems feels akin to walk­ing around while think­ing and lis­ten­ing and watch­ing your sur­round­ings, forming snip­pets of im­pres­sions that feed into a whole. Tick­ets to the read­ing and con­ver­sa­tion, which are $20 and $25, are avail­able by call­ing 505-988-1234 or vis­it­ing www.tick­etssantafe.org.

Her­rera also serves as key­note speaker at So­mos’ 20th An­niver­sary Gala & Awards Cer­e­mony at 6 p.m. on Fri­day, Dec. 4, at the Santa Fe Com­mu­nity Con­ven­tion Cen­ter (201 W. Marcy St.). The gala will host a di­verse crowd of So­mos’ al­lies, mem­bers, donors, and other supporters. Her­rera’s ad­dress cen­ters on his per­sonal story of im­mi­gra­tion as well as on cur­rent im­mi­gra­tion is­sues, and he has se­lected a bilin­gual read­ing es­pe­cially for the Santa Fe au­di­ence that will fol­low his talk. Tick­ets to the gala are $35 for adults and $5 for chil­dren un­der twelve. To pur­chase tick­ets, go to www.so­mo­sun­pueblounido.org and click on the So­mos logo, or call 505-424-7832. — Jen­nifer Levin

Juan Felipe Her­rera

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