U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will headline a lively evening of poetry and performance benefiting Aberg Center for Literacy on Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m. The event at the Latino Cultural Center will also spotlight prominent poets and spoken word artists from the Dallas community.
“The son of migrant farm workers, Juan Felipe Herrera’s journey to becoming U.S. Poet Laureate epitomizes the power of literacy to transform lives,” says Shana Harrison, executive director for Aberg Center. “It is what we are all about at Aberg Center.”
A prolific, award-winning poet and writer, Mr. Herrera, who served as California’s poet laureate from 2012 – 2014, is also a cartoonist, teacher, performer and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. The first Latino poet laureate, he earned his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop after earning BA and masters degrees in social anthropology from UCLA and Stanford University, respectively. His introduction to poetry came from his mother who sang, told stories and recited poetry to her young son as they worked in fields or traveled from farm to farm through Southern California.
Moderated by Krys Boyd host of KERA 90.1 FM’s midday talk show Think, the evening will include conversation with Mr. Herrera and poetry performances by Mr. Herrera, World Poetry Slam Champion Joaquin Zihuatanejo and others.
“This is going to be an extraordinary thing not only for Latinos in Dallas or poetry lovers in Dallas but I truly feel that this is going to be astonishing for all of Dallas,” says Mr. Zihuatanejo, an award-winning teacher. Mr. Zihuatanejo is artistic director for the event, working with producer Michael Moroney, a member of Aberg Center’s advocate council.
Robert Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress says of Mr. Herrera : “He speaks poetry in a way that I think is super-inspiring. He's the kind of poet who gives you permission to love poetry, to be excited about it, to be energized by it. To think that it's something freeing and fun but also relevant to the issues we face, the challenges we have; to understanding the world we're in."
Tickets, $40 each, will be available starting April 1 at www.abergcenter.org. All seating is reserved. The Latino Cultural Center is located at 2600 Live Oak in Dallas.