A poetic collage of voices, genres, and time-spaces. A display of power over language and rhythm. A postmodern performance of naked figures hanging in the nebulae of a militarized universe. A new millennium cubist manifesto against decrepit political machines. A mystic song in search of birth and love. In this new collection of poems, Juan Felipe Herrera’s natural talent for capturing the raw dimensions of reality merges with his wild imagination and technical prowess. Things, names, places, histories, herstories, desires, wills, minds, and their effects and progeny are re-mixed, re-mastered, and re-cast into a new narrative theater. Characters in a constant and stubborn rush, appearance, disappearance, and flow—with, against, and for each other—create the fire and give birth to the hallucinatory spotted and leaf-eating, long-necked child. Exciting and original, cutting-edge and risk-taking, Giraffe on Fire is a breathtaking addition to a respected body of work by a poet not afraid to speak out about how poetry reflects the raw beauty and truth of life.
Juan Felipe Herrera traveled as a child with his parents through many small farming towns and cities in California, until finally settling in San Diego. Juan Felipe’s books are often inspired by his past as the only son of a pair of migrant farm workers along with his belief that language, culture and good-hearted laughter are key ingredients of his work. He has taught poetry from kindergarten to the university level and is the author of numerous poetry and children’s books, including Calling The Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award, and CrashBoomLove, which was prized with the Americas Award. He also wrote Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical in New York City, and Laughing Out Loud, I Fly, winner of a Pura Belpré honor award. He holds the Tomás Rivera endowed chair in creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, where he is a professor in the Department of Creative Writing.