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Governor Jerry Brown named Juan Felipe Rivera, UC Riverside poetry professor and Chair of Creative Writing, as California Poet Laureate on Wednesday, but he's just getting to know the wordsmith. The appointment is a first ever for a Latino in the state and the poet's writings articulate the life experiences of Mexican-Americans. Herrera, 63, was born to migrant farm workers himself and went on to earn bachelor and master degrees in social anthropology from UCLA and Stanford respectively. He received his MFA afterward at the University of Iowa.
Herrera, who arrived at UCR in 2005, has gone on to author numerous volumes of poetry, children's books, and young adult novels in his literary output. Upon hearing of the distinction, the newly appointed poet laureate said in a press release, "This award is for all the young writers who want to put kindness inside every word throughout the state, because kindness is the heart of creativity."
The difference of opinion should come as no surprise. Politicians operating in the realm of society are relegated to boundaries that reinforce all its opposing forces whereas horizons define the words and life of a poet!