From one of the most prominent Chicano poets writing today, here are poems like sweet music—to make the body shake and move to the rhythm of rhyme, to the pulse of words. Juan Felipe Herrera writes in both Spanish and English about the joy and laughter and sometimes the confusion of growing up in an upside-down, jumbled-up world—between two cultures, two homes. With a crazy maraca beat, Herrera creates poetry as rich and vibrant as mole de olé and pineapple tamales…an aroma of papaya…a clear soup with strong qarlic, so you will qrow & not disappear. Herrera’s words are hot & peppery, good for you. They show us what it means to laugh out loud until it feels like flying.
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.