Stuart girls of all ages were enthralled and inspired by this year's Lies, Light, McCarthy Visiting Author, U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, the first Latino to hold this position. Mr. Herrera read poems, told stories and engaged in meaningful conversation with Stuart students at all levels throughout the day. Senior Scholars enjoyed a private lunch with our special guest and discussed a myriad of issues ranging from poetry to politics. After lunch, Mr. Herrera used narrative and humor as he spoke to a captivated audience of Upper School students, faculty, staff and visitors from the public. We're so proud and grateful to have hosted the delightful and creative Juan Felipe Herrera! See photos from the day in the gallery.
The Visiting Author Program brings world-renowned authors to Stuart to share their knowledge and experiences with our girls. This program was the dream of a beloved Stuart English teacher, Mrs.Vickie McCarthy. The program was established in her memory and also honors past English department chairs Betty Lies and Nancy Light.
The Visiting Author Program gives Stuart girls amazing opportunities to dialogue with some of the most significant voices in contemporary literature—Paul Muldoon, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jhumpa Lahiri, Naomi Shihab Nye, Edwidge Danticat, Jane Hirshfield, Mark Salzman, Tracy K. Smith, and now, Juan Felipe Herrera.
Each year about a dozen exemplary 12th grade students are selected to become Senior Scholars, students who are responsible for teaching younger students lower grades about the life and works of the visiting author.
The son of migrant farm workers, Juan Felipe Herrera was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and he earned his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. His numerous poetry collections include 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007, Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (2008), and Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream (1999). In addition to publishing more than a dozen collections of poetry, Herrera has written short stories, young adult novels, and children's literature. In 2015 he was named U.S. poet laureate.
In 2012, Mr. Herrera was named California's poet laureate, and the U.S. poet laureate in 2015. He has won the Hungry Mind Award of Distinction, the Focal Award, two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, and a PEN West Poetry Award. His honors include the UC Berkeley Regent's Fellowship as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Stanford Chicano Fellows. He has also received several grants from the California Arts Council.
Mr. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. His creative work often crosses genres, including poetry opera and dance theater.
You can read more about Mr. Hererra's work here.