Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Poetry Makers

The next US poet laureate

will be 66-year-old
Juan Felipe Herrera
from California

who has already served
as the state's poet laureate
from 2012 to 2014.

He will be the first Chicano poet

appointed to the position.

Herrera grew up in a family
of migrant farm workers

who found themselves
in various tents and trailers
in the San Joaquin Valley.

He was inspired
by his mother's spontaneous recitations

of poems she remembered
from her childhood.

He was drawn to folk music
and experimental theater

and compelled by the Chicano
civil rights movement
to learn more about indigenous cultures.

Over the years
he has written nearly thirty books

and has taught creative writing
at University of California at Riverside.

He has said
“A poem brings a way
to attain a life without boundaries”

as well as that 

"Poetry can tell us
about what's going on
in our lives

not only our personal

but our social
and political lives."

Today Sasha Obama
the president's younger daughter
turns 14.

In some timeline

her harried father
preoccupied with ISIS

has given her free rein
to plan her own birthday party.

After deliberating over the pages
of approved musical acts

she stops
and sighs

and says to herself

"You know what?
Bruno Mars is played out anyway."

This poem © 2015 Emily Cooper.