Notes on the Assemblage
"Page-Turner: The Books We Loved in 2016"
Notes on the Assemblage appears in The New Yorker's end-of-year best-of list, selected by Ada Limón who says, "Juan Felipe Herrera's Notes on the Assemblage has been a ladder of hope . . ."
Dec 13, 2016
"U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera Headlines Fresno's LitHop"
Video: Footage of United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera headlining LitHop with a well-attended appearance at Fresno City College's Old Administration Building Auditorium Saturday night, April 23, 2016 in Fresno, Calif. Clip includes part of his keynote speech and his book signing.
Apr 24, 2016
"Poem from Notes on the Assemblage Published in New York Times Magazine"
-New York Times Magazine
"You Throw a Stone" from Juan Felipe Herrera's newest collection, Notes on the Assemblage, excerpted in New York Times Magazine. First poem selected by new section editor, Matthew Zapruder. Will appear in print on March 6.
"In simple language, this poem lays out the elemental facts of an unnamed conflict. I think of the Middle East, but really, it could be anywhere. The unexpected and disorienting spaces in the poem force us to pause, think and empathize, in places where we usually don't, but probably should."––Matthew Zapruder
Mar 4, 2016
"10 Reasons to See U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera at UWM"
Before Juan Felipe Herrera's visit to the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in March 2016.
"As demonstrated in his recent collection Notes on the Assemblage (City Lights), Herrera speaks directly about painfully charged incidents of our time. 'Poem by Poem' suggests how people might respond to the Charleston church shootings; 'I Am Kenji Goto' remembers a Japanese journalist murdered by ISIL; 'We Are Remarkably Loud Not Masked' is one of several Herrera poems about the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray. Many of these poems reinforce the concluding words of 'Ayotzinapa,' which memorializes Mexican students kidnapped and murdered in 2014: 'we are / not disposable.'"—Jim Higgins
Feb 26, 2016
"Juan Felipe's Long Road to United States Poet Laureate"
-The Aspen Institute
Video of Juan Felipe's appearance at the Aspen Words reading series, Winter Words, which took place on January 12, 2016. Juan Felipe is introduced and reads from his "bag of poems" at the Paepcke Auditorium in Aspen. Includes a blog post about the event.
"As the national dialogue around immigration becomes increasingly divisive, Herrera’s work radiates compassion and bridges boundaries between different American experiences. This is particularly evident in his most recent poetry collection Notes on the Assemblage, from which he read the poem 'Borderbus.' The poem switches from English to Spanish as two women discuss their situation on a deportation bus headed for a detention center. Despite the pain and injustice portrayed in the poem, hope and healing are equally relevant."
Jan 21, 2016
"The Populist Poet"
- Fine Books & Collections
Profile of Juan Felipe Herrera, whose work was first published in small-edition chapbooks. Includes quotes and notes from his books with City Lights, Notes on the Assemblage and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border, and how his early publications in ephemeral editions has continued to influence how he approaches his published books.
Jan 1, 2016
"The 16 Best Poetry Books of 2015"
Notes on the Assemblage selected to BuzzFeed's best poetry of 2016 list.
"Notes on the Assemblage is more than merely important; it is essential, a must-read."
Dec 31, 2015
"NPR's Book Concierge: Our Guide to 2015's Great Reads"
Notes on the Assemblage is one of NPR Book's best reads of 2015, recommended by Camila Domonske of The Two-Way.
"The latest collection from Juan Felipe Herrera, the nation's new poet laureate, covers an expansive range of forms: elegies for lost friends, long polyvocal narratives, ekphrastic poems, language splintered into shapes. Frequently profound and often furious, the collection is at its most agonized when Herrera rages against an epidemic of unjust deaths: '& your body's / on the fence & your ID's in the air & the shots / get fired.' He even fits danger and sorrow into white space."
Dec 8, 2015
"Imagine, even the ghosts were trying to get away' U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera Reads at Smith College"
Coverage of Juan Felipe Herrera's appearance and reading at Smith College in Northampton, MA on December 1, 2015.
"Herrera's latest book, Notes [on] the Assemblage, published in September by City Lights, 'Just happened,' Herrera said. The collection includes poems about the recent killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray and Michael Brown; the murders of Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa in Syria; Mexican immigrants caught trying to cross the U.S. border; as well as poems that might have been written 'on the Kerouac train,' as Herrera said earlier.
"But the poem Herrera chose to read from Notes was the quiet and beautiful opening poem, 'it can begin with clouds.’ 'The violence now is so extreme,' Herrera said quietly, by way of introduction. 'We do what we usually do but we’re kind of different.’ 'Let us embrace all who are suffering,' Herrera said. 'But let us not exclude our joy.'
"Herrera ended with a poem written for his brother-in-law, who had been a Marine in Vietnam. The ex-Marine suffers from his experiences in the war. 'Here, inside the chest, all those lives, they don’t go away,' Herrera read. 'They burn, they burn.’ When he had finished the poem, the audience rose to a standing ovation."
Dec 4, 2015
"Best Poetry Collections of 2015"
-The Washington Post
Notes on the Assemblage named 1 of the 5 best poetry collections published in 2015.
"Notes on the Assemblage provides a splendid introduction to the expansive work of Juan Felipe Herrera, the nation's new poet laureate. Here, readers will find a singular voice and an agile mind that shifts easily from one topic and style to another. The son of migrant farm workers, Herrera powerfully conveys the experience of migrants who have languished in detention camps and feel apprehensive as they approach the U.S. border. He also knows, firsthand, the frustration of being labeled 'half Mexican,' as if he were neither a true Mexican nor a real American. Several of the poems are in Spanish and English. Herrera’s background as a performance artist shows in many poems, which come alive when read aloud."
Nov 18, 2015
"Best Books 2015: Poetry"
Notes on the Assemblage selected among 8 others for Library Journal's Best Poetry Books of 2015.
Nov 12, 2015
"A Conversation with First Latino U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera (Part 2)"
United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera made history when he became the first Latino named to the position. A son of Mexican migrant farm workers, Herrera has been celebrated for bringing energy, humor and emotion to work that captures the consciousness of a cross-section of America. In Part 2 of his conversation with Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman, Herrera discusses his book 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border, the Chicano movement in the United States, and reads the poem "Almost Livin’, Almost Dyin’" from his most recent book, Notes on the Assemblage. The poem was dedicated to the memory of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
Includes a complete transcript of the interview (20 minutes).
Oct 13, 2015
"21st Poet Laureate Inaugural Reading: Juan Felipe Herrera"
-The Library of Congress
Full video of Juan Felipe Herrera's inauguration speech as U.S. Poet Laureate at the Library of Congress on September 15, 2015. The event took place in the Coolidge Auditorium in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. Includes full transcript.
Sep 15, 2015
"Commentary: Experiencing Poetry Out Loud"
-The State Journal-Register
"In his latest book, Herrera mentioned several important news events from the past year, including the trial of Eric Garner — the man who died in New York after a police officer put him in a chokehold — and the church shooting in South Carolina. In one particularly memorable selection, 'Poem by Poem' (or 'Poema por Poema' in its Spanish incarnation), Herrera told us, the audience, and America at large, 'you have a poem to offer / it is made of action.'
Oct 19, 2015
"10 New Books by Established Latino Authors"
"Juan Felipe Herrera's new book, Notes on the Assemblage, is chosen as part of this list of great books by established Latino authors including Sandra Cisneros, Urayoán Noél, and Luis Alberto Urrea. Rigoberto Gonzalez, who put the list together says, "The incoming Poet Laureate of the U.S. affirms his reputation as the conscience of the Americas with this collection of poems (many in bilingual versions) that considers such charged subjects as Ayotzinapa and the Charleston church shootings. To provide an emotional balance to this troubled landscape, he also includes heartfelt tributes to beloved poets recently passed, including José Montoya, Wanda Coleman, and a former Poet Laureate of the U.S., Philip Levine. Herrera's voice is reflective and wistful as he sifts through the damage of violence and loss in order to come to terms with the hard-won path towards solace."
Oct 2, 2015
"Nevada's Day with Juan Felipe Herrera"
-Paint This Desert
Chronicling U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera's visit to Nevada State College, in which he was presented with the key to the Las Vegas Strip (on a day officially designated "Juan Felipe Day"). Juan Felipe created an impromptu participatory poem with the audience and signed copies of his works including his new book with City Lights, Notes on the Assemblage.
"When Herrera approached the podium, he was welcomed with a standing ovation, enthralled the room with the story of his beginnings, then jumped into his readings, many from Notes on the Assemblage, his U.S. poet laureate release. From that, in his ode to friend José Montoya, the artist and writer who passed away in 2013 (and father to RIchard Montoya of Culture Clash), Herrera shows there are thick connections between the Chicano traditions of literature and art."
Sep 27, 2015
"Juan Felipe Herrera: A Poet Without Borders"
-KNPR - Nevada Public Radio
Juan Felipe Herrera talks with KNPR the day before he reads at Nevada State College (on what will be known as "Juan Felipe Day"). In this interview, he talks about how he chooses what poems to read at his appearances, reads from several poems from his new book with City Lights, Notes on the Assemblage, and is joined by Clark County Poet Laureate Bruce Isaacson, who brought Juan Felipe to Las Vegas.
Sep 25, 2015
"Poet Laureate Explores the Details of Life That Make Readers Think"
-Las Vegas Review-Journal
Juan Felipe Herrera talks about traveling as U.S. Poet Laureate and the upcoming reading at Nevada State College, and his earliest memories of life as a poet.
"For fun, his family would walk 10 blocks to the bus depot in the evenings, window shopping along the way saying, 'Oh look at the tattoo parlor — Popeye and anchors and sailboats and skulls. And we'd pass by the pawn shop, and look at those beautiful hummingbird Gibson 10-string guitars with the sunburst finish. Ah, yeah, look at that saxophone. It's sparkling like melting gold...
"'And you make it all the way to the Greyhound depot on Second Street and Broadway in San Diego near the waterfront, and you sit down and watch people going places,' he said. 'It kind of sounds funny to watch people going places.'
"His more than a dozen poetry collections include 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007, Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems and his most recent Notes on the Assemblage."
Sep 25, 2015
"Juan Felipe Herrera's Global Voice and Vision"
-Los Angeles Review of Books
Rigoberto González offers a survey on U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Feilpe Herrera's poetry through close readings of five of his collections including Night Train to Tuxtla, Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream, Giraffe on Fire, and Notebooks of a Chile Verde Smuggler (all from University of Arizona Press), and Notes on the Assemblage (from City Lights).
"The next Poet Laureate of the United States comes from an ethnic community that’s quickly changing the demographic of the nation. His voice speaks to the Chicano identity, the immigrant experience, and the struggle of the Latino artist. Though the current national climate is fraught with social anxieties and racial tensions that will undoubtedly become part of any presidential candidate’s platform, Herrera’s body of work amplifies a perspective that has been deliberately muted by mainstream media, or rather, clumped into a single talking point: immigration reform. Writing as an insider, as an activist who has journeyed through the second half of the 20th century and into the present, he has remained clear-eyed and committed to his vision: chronicling the historical, cultural and political landscape of his Chicano consciousness."
Sep 23, 2015
"U.S. Poet Laureate Asks Country for Poem"
-The Press Enterprise
Detailing Juan Felipe Herrera's appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate, "La Casa de Colores," and his new publication with City Lights, Notes on the Assemblage.
"The country's poet laureates open an eight-month literary season each fall. Herrera began serving his term Sept. 1 and gave his opening reading on Tuesday, Sept. 15, the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building.
"Also Tuesday, Herrera published his new poetry collection, 'Notes on the Assemblage.'
"The book is a selection of verse about things that moved him, including the South Carolina church massacre in June, the disappearance of 43 Mexican college students, Trayvon Martin’s death, officer-involved shootings and the national Black Lives Matter movement.
"'The poems kind of put themselves together,' he said. 'Most of the time, I’ll have an idea for the entire book. I’ll just start writing until the book kind of finishes itself.’"
Sep 19, 2015
"New U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera Made a Fantastic Debut in DC
-The Washington Post
Juan Felipe Herrera's inaugural reading at the Library of Congress, where he was officially appointed Poet Laureate.
'If there were any doubt, Herrera, the first Mexican American U.S. poet laureate, made it clear Tuesday night that he’s bringing a new sense of wonder and drama to the position. His inaugural reading was infused with humility and graciousness, but it was also an elaborately choreographed event informed by his years as a teacher and activist."
"Other poems, such as "Almost Living, Almost Dying" and “Exiles,” about “women, men, children cast out from the new paradise,” demonstrated the deep sympathy and sorrow in Herrera’s work.
"About halfway through the presentation, he brought guitarist Juan Díes to the stage to play a ballad — a corrido — about Sandra Bland, an African American woman who died in a Texas prison after being arrested after a minor traffic violation in July. As Díes played, Herrera translated the Spanish lyrics, which had been composed during a workshop at the Library of Congress on Tuesday as part of the library’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month."
Sep 16, 2015
"Poet Laureate's Migrant Childhood Was Like 'Living in Literature Every Day’"
-NPR Morning Edition
Juan Felipe Herrera interview in which he talks about his writing process and new book, Notes on the Assemblage.
"When Juan Felipe Herrera came to NPR's Washington studio, the poet laureate carried a sketch pad of drawings and scribbles of poems in the works. Herrera is the child of Mexican migrant farmworkers. He grew up following the seasons as his parents picked crops in the heat and dust of California's fields.
"Herrera gives his first official reading as the nation's new poet laureate on Tuesday. When he sat down with NPR, he shared something from his sketch pad — a fragment of the poem he was writing for his inaugural reading …
"Herrera tells NPR's Renee Montagne about his writing process and a poem he wrote about the shooting in Charleston, S.C. His new collection is called Notes on the Assemblage."
Sep 15, 2015
"A Voice for the People"
Juan Felipe Herrera profiled in UCLA Magazine.
"'I'm drawn to voices that speak for all of us,' says Juan Felipe Herrera ’72, who was named U.S. Poet Laureate in June. To prepare for his year as the nation’s top poetry consultant — and the first Latino to hold the post — Herrera has been listening to as many people as he can. 'Before I set my goals,' he says, 'I want to hear from tweens who don’t yet know who they are; soldiers, who have a lot to get off their chests but no outlet; women, men, teenagers, Africans, gay middle-schoolers. I want to be a global poet, a universal poet.'
"His 30 books include more than a dozen poetry collections, as well as prose, short stories, young adult novels and children’s books. In September, he published his latest collection: Notes on the Assemblage. In 2013 and 2014, he served as California’s Poet Laureate, the first Latino in that post as well."
Sep 15, 2015
"Interview with U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera"
Jonah Raskin interviews U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.
"Nearly everyone who lauds the new U.S. poet laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, describes his birth to farmworkers of Mexican descent as though to say that he's come a long way and that America is a land of opportunity. If doors have opened to him almost magically, perhaps because of his extraordinary fluency with languages, Herrera has also pried them open with his humor, courage and fortitude.
"The author of 29 books of poetry, along with novels for children and young adults, he has cried out against injustice and inequality, written verse that pushes language into new territories and explored the links between diverse cultures and creeds. In 2007, City Lights published his 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border, already a classic of contemporary American poetry. City Lights will release his latest work, Notes on the Assemblage, on Tuesday, Sept. 15, the day of his inaugural reading as poet laureate."
Sep 11, 2015
"Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera on Migration, Identity and Verse"
-The Kojo Nnamdi Show
One-hour conversation between U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and host Kojo Nnamdi on WAMU 88.5 in Washington, DC. The two discuss Herrera's appointement as Poet Laureate, his upcoming projects, writing in two languages, and they take calls from listeners. Herrera also reads several poems from his new book published by City Lights, Notes on the Assemblage.
Sep 10, 2015
"Ten Books to Read in September"
-Jane Ciabattari, BBC
Notes on the Assemblage selected by BBC as one of the ten books to read this September:
"Herrera's new bilingual collection arrives in the same month as his appointment as the 21st US Poet Laureate, and the first ever Hispanic person to hold the office, goes into effect. Herrera offers glorious reflections: 'it can begin with clouds how they fray how they enter / then how they envelop the earth. He also conjures powerful outcries, like his poem 'Ayotzinapa,' which honors '42 students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School [who] went missing after police in the city of Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico opened fire on their buses and kidnapped a group of 43.' And his poem 'Almost Livin' Almost Dyin' honors Michael Brown, whose death at the hands of a police officer set off protests in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. Herrera offers intimate odes to recently departed poets Wanda Coleman and Jack Gilbert, Jayne Cortez, Phil Levine, José Montoya. This is Herrera at his best, a poet who chronicles our times."
Aug 27, 2015
"Juan Felipe Herrera Appointed Poet Laureate"
-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
Announcement in Library Journal of Juan Felipe Herrera's appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate, and his new book published by City Lights, Notes on the Assemblage.
"Herrera begins his new job by participating in the Library of Congress National Book Festival on Saturday, September 5, and by opening the library’s annual literary season with a reading of his work at the Coolidge Auditorium on Tuesday, September 15. (That same month, City Lights will release his new collection, Notes on the Assemblage.)"
Jun 11, 2015
"Juan Felipe Herrera named first Latino poet laureate of the U.S."
-John McMurtrie, SF Gate
Announcement of Juan Felipe Herrera's appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate, mentioning his forthcoming book with City Lights, Notes on the Assemblage, as well as as brief profile on the poet.
"Herrera has written 28 books of poetry, novels for young adults and collections for children, including the 2014 picture book Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes. City Lights Books will publish Notes on the Assemblage, a collection of poems, in September."
Jun 10, 2015
"Juan Felipe Herrera, from Farm Fields to Poet Laureate"
-Jennifer Schuessler, The New York Times
Initial announcement of Juan Felipe Herrera's appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate, including mention of his two previous titles with City Lights and one poem that will appear in his forthcoming collection, Notes on the Assemblage.
"His work also confounds any neat border between the written and the spoken. The collection 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border, published in 2007 by City Lights, gathered nearly three decades worth of verse intended primarily for oral performance—texts Mr. Herrera playfully calls 'undocuments.’"
Jun 10, 2015