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“Juan Felipe Herrera's kaleidoscopic poetry collection takes the reader into unexpected territories, from the stark brutality to the delicate duality of life's beauty”
Juan Felipe Herrera's kaleidoscopic poetry collection takes the reader into unexpected territories, from the stark brutality of massacres and wars to the delicate duality of life's beauty, where borders of nations and eras blur as Herrera guides us through the historical and geographical journey of humanity. Crossing into Poland from Ukraine becomes a metaphor for traversing the boundaries of culture, heritage, and shared history. Even William Shatner's visionary experiences in the cosmos find a place within Herrera's poetic narrative, connecting the boundless human spirit with the enigma of the cosmos.
”At its core, this collection vibrates a deep care, calling together cultural histories and ecological meditations while demanding remembrance for those lost to acts of violence committed directly and indirectly by the state. CALIFORNIA BROWN combines brilliance and compassion to forge a new future ahead, a gift from one of the most innovative poets of our time.” – Mai Der Vang, author of Yellow Rain
”CALIFORNIA BROWN is painted with fervent brushstrokes and the unceasing ache to meet the sunrise with joy, reflection, and a dexterity for what is still to arrive. Herrera snaps the line, drips the ink, scratches the syllable allowing us an opportunity to lean in close until carving a clarity around the stars and back until we must join in, “do you know how awake you are.” – Anthony Cody, author of Borderland Apocrypha
Juan Felipe Herrera is a graduate of UCLA, Stanford University, and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. He served as poet laureate of the United States from 2015 to 2017 and poet laureate of California from 2012 to 2015. He has written more than 30 books in various genres. One of his inspiration poems, "Sunriders," was placed in the capsule of the NASA Lucy, an un-crewed, robotic, interplanetary spacecraft launched in the fall of 2021 to explore asteroids and the sun regarding the life-span of Earth. Herrera has taught Chicano and Latin American Studies at California State University, Fresno and creative writing at the University of California, Riverside and has held numerous visiting positions. He is a professor emeritus at the Department of Chicano and Latin American Studies, Fresno State University and is the current coordinator for the Laureate Lab Visual Wordist Studio at the Fresno State Library.