Gala

2017 Spirit of the West® Award Honoree

The Spirit of the West® Award recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the art, culture, and legacy of our American West. This year the Autry recognizes Juan Felipe Herrera.

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015–2017) and the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012 to 2014, Herrera served as California State Poet Laureate. He is the recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Notes on the Assemblage; Senegal TaxiHalf of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971–2007. He is also the author of CrashBoomLove: A Novel in Verse, which received the Américas Award. His books of prose for children include SkateFate; Calling the Doves/El canto de las palomas, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award; Upside Down Boy/El niño de cabeza, which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City; and Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and Indigenous communities and at-risk youth.

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