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
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