Congratulations to Juan Felipe Herrera, who has just been appointed California poet laureate! Herrera is the author of 28 volumes of poetry and other works, including several award-winning children’s books.
In honor of Juan Felipe Herrera, here’s a poem from his book The Upside Down Boy:
After a week of reading a new poem aloud to us every day
Mrs. Sampson says, “Write a poem,”
As she plays symphony music on the old red phonograph.
I think of Mama, squeeze my pencil,
pour letters from the shiny tip like a skinny river.
The waves tumble onto the page
L’s curl at the bottom.
F’s tip their hats from their heads.
M’s are sea waves. They crash over my table.
Papi Felipe with a mustache of words.
Mama Lucha with strawberries in her hair.
I see magic salsa in my house and everywhere.