California

On March 21, 2012, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Juan Felipe Herrera as the California Poet Laureate. Herrera is the author of twenty-eight books and currently serves as the Tomas Rivera Endowed Chair in the department of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. Herrera's work has received wide critical acclaim including numerous national and international awards. He is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Poetry in California
Juan Felipe Herrera
California poet laureate

Juan Felipe Herrera

Born in Fowler, California, on December 27, 1948, Herrera is director of the Art and Barbara Culver Center for the Arts, a multimedia space in...

poems

poem
What are you thinking about?

I am thinking of an early summer.
I am thinking of wet hills in the rain
Pouring water.  Shedding it
Down empty acres of oak and manzanita
Down to the old green brush tangled in the sun,
Greasewood, sage, and spring mustard.
Or the hot wind coming down from Santa Ana
Driving
poem
Among the blight-killed eucalypts, among
trees and bushes rusted by Christmas frosts,
the yards and hillsides exhausted by five years of drought,

certain airy white blossoms punctually
reappeared, and dense clusters of pale pink, dark pink—
a delicate abundance. They seemed

like guests arriving joyfully on the
poem
The only thing I miss about Los Angeles

is the Hollywood Freeway at midnight, windows down and
radio blaring
bearing right into the center of the city, the Capitol Tower
on the right, and beyond it, Hollywood Boulevard
blazing

—pimps, surplus stores, footprints of the stars

—descending through the city