Friday, June 12, 2015

Juan Felipe Herrera Named National Poet Laureate. Anaya Poetry. The Revolutionary Art of Virgil Ortiz.

Librarian of Congress Appoints Juan Felipe Herrera Poet Laureate
June 10

 [Library of Congress Press Release]
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today announced the appointment of Juan Felipe Herrera as the Library’s 21st Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, for 2015-2016. Herrera will take up his duties in the fall, participating in the Library of Congress National Book Festival on Saturday, September 5 and opening the Library’s annual literary season with a reading of his work at the Coolidge Auditorium on Tuesday, September 15.

“I see in Herrera’s poems the work of an American original—work that takes the sublimity and largess of “Leaves of Grass” and expands upon it,” Billington said. “His poems engage in a serious sense of play—in language and in image—that I feel gives them enduring power. I see how they champion voices, traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity.”

Herrera, who succeeds Charles Wright as Poet Laureate, is the first Hispanic poet to serve in the position. He said, “This is a mega-honor for me, for my family and my parents who came up north before and after the Mexican Revolution of 1910—the honor is bigger than me. I want to take everything I have in me, weave it, merge it with the beauty that is in the Library of Congress, all the resources, the guidance of the staff and departments, and launch it with the heart-shaped dreams of the people. It is a miracle of many of us coming together.”

Herrera joins a long line of distinguished poets who have served in the position, including Natasha Trethewey, Philip Levine, W. S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Donald Hall, Ted Kooser, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass and Rita Dove.

The new Poet Laureate is the author of 28 books of poetry, novels for young adults and collections for children, most recently Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes (2014), a picture book showcasing inspirational Hispanic and Latino Americans. His most recent book of poems is Senegal Taxi (2013).

Herrera was born in Fowler, California, in 1948. As the son of migrant farm workers, he moved around often, living in tents and trailers along the road in Southern California, and attended school in a variety of small towns from San Francisco to San Diego. In 1972 he graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a bachelor’s degree in social anthropology. He then attended Stanford University, where he received a master’s degree in social anthropology, and in 1990 received a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa Writers’

Herrera has written over a dozen poetry collections, including Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (2008), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the International Latino Book Award. He is also a celebrated young adult and children’s book author. His honors include the Américas Award for both Cinnamon Girl: letters found inside a cereal box (2005) and Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse (1999), as well as the Independent Publisher Book Award for Featherless / Desplumado (2005), the Ezra Jack Keats Award for Calling the Doves (1995) and the Pura Belpré Author Honor Award for both Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes and Laughing Out Loud, I Fly (1998).

For his poetry, Herrera has received two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, a PEN USA National Poetry Award, the PEN Oakland / Josephine Miles Award, a PEN / Beyond Margins Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Stanford University Chicano Fellows.

Herrera has served as the chair of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department at California State University, Fresno, and held the Tomas Rivera Endowed Chair in the Creative Writing Department at the University of California, Riverside, where he taught until retiring in 2015. He is currently a visiting professor in the Department of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. Elected as a chancellor for the Academy of American Poets in 2011, he also served as the Poet Laureate of California from 2012-2015.

More information on the Poet Laureate and the Poetry and Literature Center can be found at

# # #

Felicidades and congratulations and way-to-go!  We're totally proud of el maestro, Juan Felipe Herrera, from his friends and fans at La Bloga.  ¡Ajua!

New Poetry From Rudolfo Anaya

Rudolfo Anaya
Foreword by Robert Con Davis-Undiano

Volume 14 in the Chicana and Chicano Visions of the Americas Series

[from the publisher]
Readers of Rudolfo Anaya’s fiction know the lyricism of his prose, but most do not know him as a poet. In this, his first collection of poetry, Anaya presents twenty-eight of his best poems, most of which have never before been published. Featuring works written in English and Spanish over the course of three decades, Poems from the Río Grande offers readers a full body of work showcasing Anaya’s literary and poetic imagination.

Although the poems gathered here take a variety of forms—haiku, elegy, epic—all are imbued with the same lyrical and satirical styles that underlie Anaya’s fiction. Together they make a fascinating complement to the novels, stories, and plays for which he is well known. In verse, Anaya explores every aspect of Chicano identity, beginning with memories of his childhood in a small New Mexico village and ending with mature reflections on being a Chicano who considers himself connected to all peoples. The collection articulates themes at the heart of all Anaya’s work: nostalgia for the landscape and customs of his boyhood in rural New Mexico, a deep connection to the Río Grande, the politics of Chicanismo and satire aimed at it, and the use of myth and history as metaphor.

Anaya also illustrates his familiarity with world traditions of poetry, invoking Walt Whitman, Homer, and the Bible. The poem to Isis that concludes the collection honors Anaya’s wife, Patricia, and reflects his increasing identification with spiritual traditions across the globe.

Both profeta and vato, seer and homeboy, Anaya as author is a citizen of the world. Poems from the Río Grande offers readers a glimpse into his development as a poet and as one of the most celebrated Chicano authors of our time.

Rudolfo Anaya is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico and author of numerous books, including The Old Man’s Love Story. Robert Con Davis-Undiano is Executive Director of World Literature Today magazine and Neustadt Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Oklahoma.

Virgil Ortiz in Denver

Gallery view of Revolt 1680/2180: Virgil Ortiz
All artwork copyright Virgil Ortiz.
The work of amazing artist and designer Virgil Ortiz is featured in two excellent exhibits at Denver venues:  the Denver Art Museum (DAM) and the William Havu Gallery. You owe it to your aesthetic self to catch these exhibits before they leave town.  From preserving the history of the Pueblo revolt to science fiction to high fashion to commentary about current native life -- and much more.

Denver Art Museum: Revolt 1680/2180: Virgil Ortiz  
May 17, 2015January 10, 2016
Hamilton Building - Level 4 — Included in general admission. 
100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204

[from the Denver Art Museum web page]
Virgil Ortiz is an internationally renowned ceramicist, fashion designer, and graphic artist from Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico. He uses contemporary art to blend historic events with futuristic elements. Set against Ortiz’s graphic murals, this exhibition features 31 clay figures and invites visitors to immerse themselves in a storyline that Ortiz created that begins with the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. This is the first exhibition of his work to visually tell the whole story.

Curated by John Lukavic, associate curator of native arts, this exhibition is part of the Denver Art Museum’s initiative to expand the recognition of contemporary art by American Indian artists. Revolt 1680/2180: Virgil Ortiz is a special feature of Showing Off: Recent Modern and Contemporary Acquisitions.

An exhibition catalog is available in The Shops and online.

[from the artist's website]
Revolt 1680/2180:  Virgil Ortiz 
Set against Ortiz’s graphic murals, this exhibition features 31 clay figures and invites visitors to immerse themselves in a storyline that Ortiz created that begins with the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
Woman and Bird (Femme et oiseau), 1968
© Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris 2014.

While you're at the DAM visit the Joan Miró exhibit on the first floor. Outstanding. It closes June 28.

The William Havu Gallery
1040 Cherokee Street, Denver Colorado
May 14 – June 20, 2015                                                                                                

[from the gallery website]
“Art is in my blood, ” says Virgil Ortiz, a Native of Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico. Hailing from a family of renowned potters, Ortiz’s exquisite clay works are exhibited worldwide from the s’Hergotenbosh Museum in The Netherlands to Fondation Cartier in Paris. Ortiz uses contemporary art to blend historic events with science fiction. He is also known for his creation of apparel, jewelry and interior décor inspired and based on traditional Cochiti designs.



No comments: