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U.S. Names First Latino Poet Laureate

Juan Felipe Herrera has been named poet laureate of the United States, the first Latino to receive the honor. Born to Mexican migrant parents, Herrera is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and works in both English and Spanish. The 66-year-old has also served as California’s poet laureate and taught creative writing at U.C. Riverside for a decade. He sees the audience as essential to his work. “I used to stand on the corner in San Diego with poems sticking out of my hip pocket, asking people if there was a place where I could read poems,” Herrera told the Los Angeles Times. “The audience is half of the poem.”