Prologue: Juan Felipe Herrera was Poet Laureate of the United States 2015-17. He is an artist, a teacher, the author of 30 books across all genres, and he plays a mean harmonica.
As a keynote speaker at the 15th annual San Miguel Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival, Herrera put the harmonica to good use. He also introduced plenty of “participatory poetry,” goading on the audience to share the load as he read his poems.
Herrera’s commentary is every bit as poetic as his published works. In fact, it was hard sometimes to see where his beguiling banter ended and a poem began.
Herrera’s life was a rough one from the start. His family traveled up and down California in the migrant labor trucks, from harvest to harvest. Continue reading