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Three Laureates: Poets of the New California


U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia, and Los Angeles Poet Laureate Robin Coste Lewis come together on the Bovard stage for a reading and discussion about poetry and the role of place—in particular, the many places of California—in their creative work. The son of farmworkers, Herrera spent his early years living from crop to crop in California’s San Joaquin and Salinas valleys, went to high school in San Diego, attended college at UCLA during the Chicano movement, and now lives in Fresno, California. Dana Gioia grew up in Hawthorne, California, and spent his college years at Stanford. And National Book Award winner Robin Coste Lewis is from Compton. In a rare joint event, these three highly decorated and deeply rooted California poets will reflect upon how poetry and the written word contribute to our shared yet varied sense of place and community.

Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States and the first Latino to hold the position. His many books of poetry include Notes on the AssemblageHalf of the World in Light; and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971–2007. Herrera is also an author of children’s books, a performance artist, and an activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. (Twitter)

Dana Gioia is the Poet Laureate of California and the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at USC. A former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Gioia has published numerous collections of poetry, including Interrogations at Noon and, most recently, 99 Poems: New and Selected. Also an influential critic, Gioia was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for his 1991 book Can Poetry Matter?, which helped to revive the role of poetry in American public culture. (TwitterUSC profile)

Robin Coste Lewis is the Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and the author of the National Book Award–winning poetry collection Voyage of the Sable Venus. She was born in Compton, California, and received an MFA from New York University and an MTS from the Divinity School at Harvard University. (FacebookTwitter)

Related Event:
Poetry Workshop with Juan Felipe Herrera

Thursday, September 28, 2017, at 3 p.m.
The Academy for Polymathic Study, Doheny Memorial Library 241
For more info, click here.

Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. Organized by the USC Libraries. Co-sponsored by El Centro Chicano and the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs, and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles.

Photo (Dana Gioia): Lynn Goldsmith
Photo (Juan Felipe Herrera): Carlos Puma
Photo (Robin Coste Lewis): Dunya Alwan