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. He served as California poet laureate from 2012 to 2014.

Alejandro Murguía is San Francisco’s sixth poet laureate and the first Latino poet to hold the position. An editor, translator, literary organizer, and prose writer, he is the author of the poetry collections Stray Poems (City Lights Books, 2014) and Native Tongue (CC. Marimbo Press, 2012), among others.

upcoming events

datesort ascending
Jul 22 2015
PEN Center USA Emerging Voices

Emerging Voices is a literary fellowship that provides new writers, who lack access, with the tools they will need to launch a professional writing career. The 2015 Emerging Voices Fellows are Oktavi Allison, Kenneth D. Capers, Michelle Meyers, Erik Rodgers, and Nancy Lynée Woo. Celebrate the culmination of their fellowship with a public reading followed by a reception.

10:30pm
10899 Wilshire Blvd.
90024 Los Angeles, California
Jul 21 2015
Literary Death Match

Called “the most entertaining reading series ever” by the Los Angeles Times, Literary Death Match features four authors, three all-star judges, two finalists, and one epic finale. Now in 57 cities worldwide, this wild live show has been optioned for TV and returns to the Hammer for its annual summer spectacular.

10:30pm
10899 Wilshire Blvd.
90024 Los Angeles, California
Jul 12 2015
Hip-hop Logic: The Role of Hip-hop in 21st Century Education & Poetics

In this afternoon event celebrating the impact of hip-hop on education and contemporary American poetry, mini-lectures are interspersed with readings and hip-hop performances showcasing the top educators, scholars, and artists in the fields of hip-hop, poetry, and pedagogy.

6:30pm
10899 Wilshire Blvd.
90024 Los Angeles, California
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
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
poem
  What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
  In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
  What peaches and what penumbras
2
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