In his newest book, Senegal Taxi, California’s Poet Laureate—and teacher and activist—turns his gaze to Africa. For this special evening, Herrera invites two talented younger poets to join him for a foray into what he calls: “the Plankton-like, Picasso-Like, Kandinsky-like chromatics of heart fire, short line enlightenment meditations… double shocked to the present life of what is going on in our diagonal world, war here, peace there—making it all right with these oceanic voices.”
Juan Felipe Herrera is the current California Poet Laureate and an award-winning writer and teacher in the Creative Writing Department at UC Riverside. He has published numerous volumes of poetry, prose, theater, children’s books and young adult novels, including Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, which received the PEN/Beyond Margins Award, the International Latino Award in poetry, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry, fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council, and the UC Berkeley Regent’s Fellowship. His most recent work is Senegal Taxi.
Marisa Urrutia Gedney, writer and educator, is a native Angeleno, and was recently named one of Forbes Magazine's top 30 under 30 in Education. She is currently the Director of Programming for 826LA where she helps students write and publish their stories.
Freddy Lopez is a poet, writer, rapper and performer from East Palo Alto. He is currently an undergraduate at U.C. Riverside, where he was recently in the case of the play Stars of Juarez, written by Juan Felipe Herrera. Lopez co-founded a self-expression organization called Art of the P.O.O.R. His future goals include becoming a professional rapper-poet-guitarist-performer, an education revolutionary, and starting a center for self-expression in his hometown.