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Juan Felipe Herrera

Writer Juan Felipe Herrera in Residence at CSULA May 1-2

Juan Felipe Herrera will be in residence at Cal State LA at the beginning of May. Herrera's visit is made possible by the Virginia E. Smith Endowment for Poetry and Poetics.

On Sunday, May 1, Herrera will be participating in the Reel Rasquache Festival. On Monday, May 2, he will conduct special presentations and workshops for students from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and Cal State LA. For further information, see the more detailed schedule to the left.

After serving as chair of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department at CSU-Fresno, this year Juan Felipe Herrera joined the Creative Writing Department at UC Riverside, as Tomás Rivera Endowed chair. He was a teaching fellow with the distinction of Excellence at the University of Iowa,

Image of Juan Felipe Herrera

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Writers Workshop in 1990. Also, he has taught at the New College of San Francisco and Stanford University.  During the last three decades Professor Herrera has received numerous awards and fellowships such as two National Endowment for the Arts Writers’ Fellowships, four California Arts Council grants, the UC Berkeley Regent’s Fellowship, the Breadloaf Fellowship in Poetry and the Stanford Chicano Fellows Fellowship. He has given lectures, workshops, readings and performances of his work and writing throughout the nation. Mr. Herrera’s publications include fourteen collections of poetry, prose, short stories, young adult novels and picture books for children in the last decade with twenty-one books in total. For his literary endeavors, Mr. Herrera has garnered the Ezra Jack Keats Award, the Hungry Mind Award of Distinction, the Americas Award, the Focal Award, the Pura Belpré Honors Award, the Smithsonian Children’s Book of the year, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choice, the IRA Teacher’s Choice, the LA Times Book Award Nomination, the Texas Blue Bonnet Nomination, the New York Public Library outstanding book for high school students and two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards. 

Juan Felipe is also an actor with appearances on film and stage. Recently produced “The Twin Tower Songs,” a San Joaquin Valley performance memorial on the September 11th tragedy and  writes (poetry sequences) for the PBS television series “American Family.” His recent musical, The Upside Down Boy, was well received in New York City (9,000 K-6 attended), produced by Making Books Sing, libretto by Barbara Zinn Krieger. Lyrics by Juan Felipe Herrera and Music by Cristian Amigo. Mr. Herrera is a board member of the Before Columbus American Book Awards Foundation and the California Council for the Humanities.

Juan Felipe Herrera's visit to CSULA is made possible through the Virginia E. Smith Fund for Poetry and Poetics. 

Juan Felipe Herrera at CSULA

Sunday, May 1, 4:30pm
Luckman Intimate Theatre. Herrera will be presenting the Driver's Licenz project  as part of the Reel Rasquache Festival, a celebration of Latino film, art and poetry. This event is free of charge and open to the public.

Monday, May 2, 8:30am
Fine Arts Gallery. A special presentation for students from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) and Cal State LA:

SupraNormal Creative Tectonics:

- find extra-ordinary planes of insight on ordinary surfaces
w/extra-ordinary physical combustion

- isometric and plastic movement for explosive writing on the real ordinary world.

Monday, May 2, 6:10-10:00pm
Fine Arts Gallery. A workshop for CSULA students:


- writing with pure 100% language syrup (change the cultural
isotope of perception first)


Herrera received his B.A. in Social Anthropology from the University of California at Los Angeles, his Masters in Social Anthropology from Stanford and his Masters in Fine Arts, in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. Mr. Herrera often travels and performs with his partner, Margarita Luna Robles, a poet and performance artist.

Theatre: Juan Felipe has founded a number of performance ensemble during the last three decades: Teatro Tolteca (UCLA, 1971 – a choreopoem theatre utilizing jazz, spoken-word and movement), TROKA ( Bay Area, 1983, a percussion/spoken word ensemble, Teatro Zapata, (Fresno, Ca., 1990 –  a student community theatre), Manikrudo: Raw Essence ( Fresno, Ca., 1993, a culturally diverse, performance art ensemble and workshop) and  Teatro Ambulante de Salud/The Traveling Health Theatre (2003, Fresno, Ca. for migrant communities in the San Joaquin Valley). “Prison Journal,” an experimental play was featured at the Univ. of Iowa Playwright’s Festival, 1990. [email protected] Theatre/Movement & Improv training: Luis Valdez/Teatro Campesino, Enrique Buenaventura, Rodrigo Duarte-Clark, Olivia Chumacero, Jorge Huerta, James Donlon.

Poetry, Spoken-Word, Verbal Art: For the last thirty-five years, Juan Felipe has been writing, publishing, reading, performing, leading workshops, organizing literary broadsides, journals and publications in home communities and universities in California and the Pacific Northwest. Nineteen books published. Has over one-hundred articles, poems, reviews, essays in print.

Mural and Visual Art: Juan Felipe was instrumental in installing early Chicano California murals in San Diego (1973, 74) and organizing Chicano Latino Arts  and literary Expos at UCLA (1973) and San Diego (1974) and Stanford, 1979 and University of Iowa (1990).

Film and Video: Co-wrote script for award winning film Chicano Park (Red Bird Films, 1990) and participated in Gary Soto’s, The Bike and the Pool Party (1992).  Various video-art pieces such as “To Arrive,” and “British Nights,” were featured at the University of Iowa’s Multi-media Workshop, 1990.

Television: Recently wrote poetry for the PBS hit show, American Family, -- Crashboomlove (2 episodes, 03) and Land of Dreams (1 episode, 04). Producers: Gregory Nava and Barbara Martinez-Jitner. Los Angeles.

Community Arts: Juan Felipe has received grants to teach poetry/art and performance in settings such a community art galleries such as the Galeria de la Raza in San Francisco, Ca., in 1983-84, develop community art and literature broadsides (1977-78)  in San Diego, Ca., teach poetry in prisons (Soledad Correctional Facility, 1987-88).

New Books: 04



Notebooks of a Chile Verde Smuggler (Univ. Arizona Press)



Supercilantro Girl (Children’s Book Press)



Coralito’s Bay, Bahia de Coralito (Monterey National Marine Sanctuary)

Featherless/Desplumado (Children’s Book Press) /



Forthcoming Books: 05



Cinnamon Girl (Harper Collins/Joanna Cotler Books, NY) Fall 05



Downtown Boy (Scholastic-Signature, NY), Fall ‘05



For more information, call the Cal State L.A. English Department at (323) 343-4140.

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