Juan Felipe Herrera

Class of 1972


Juan Felipe Herrera, the 2015–2016 U.S. Poet Laureate, spent his first six years in migrant worker camps in California’s San Joaquin Valley. He learned to love the sound of language, as his mother read to him whatever she could find. But he wanted to be a social worker so he could help other families like his. He earned two degrees in social anthropology, at UCLA and Stanford, before Beat Poets and Latino Poets in San Francisco persuaded him to publish his work. The author of 30 books, Herrera also was the first Latino to be named California’s Poet Laureate. His goal as the U.S. Laureate: “I want to tell the big story through the people at the very edge of society.”

How will you be heard?

Get involved with ucla
Juan Felipe Herrera

Stay Informed

Sign up to receive engaging, educational and inspirational content in your inbox.