This morning, Mexican-American Poet Juan Felipe Herrera was announced as the new Poet Laureate of the United States. It’s a historic moment; he is the first Latino to be awarded such an honor.
Born to a family of migrant workers, Herrera is no Robert Frost. Herrera came of age in the sixties when Mexican-American pride exploded onto the scene in his native California. His work has dealt with Mexican-American themes and issues but with universal reach.
This announcement is telling for obvious reasons, including the inexorable fact that Latinos/as are increasingly influencing arts and culture in this country. His predecessors are almost all white which makes this all the more remarkable.
It remains to be seen what Herrera will do with his position, but he will undoubtably keep it real due to his past politics and experiences. First cabinet posts, then Supreme Court justices. Today, we can put another one in the bag.