US Poet Laureate at Winter Words | PostIndependent.com
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US Poet Laureate at Winter Words

Juan Felipe Herrera

If you go

When: Jan 12 at 6 p.m.

Where: 1000 N. 3rd Street, Aspen

How much: $20 at aspenshowtix.com or at the door

More information at aspenwords.org.

For the third year running, Aspen Words is bring a United States poet laureate to the Roaring Fork Valley. Recently inaugurated laureate Juan Felipe Herrera kicks off the 19th Winter Words series at Paepcke Auditorium on Jan. 12.

Herrera, 67, hails from Fowler, California, and is the nation's first Latino poet laureate, a role intended to enhance public appreciation of the artform.

His most recent collection, "Notes on the Assemblage," challenges readers to recognize our shared humanity in a world fraught with violence and injustice. Previous works include the National Book Critics Circle award-winning collection "Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems" and "Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse," a recipient of the Americas Award.

For the official project of his laureateship, he has invited Americans to contribute a verse to an epic poem centered around the American experience. Herrera described "La Casa de Coloras" as "a house for all voices."

"In this house we will feed the hearth and heart of our communities with creativity and imagination," he said. "And we will stand together in times of struggle and joy."

Herrera hopes to bring the same communal and connective energy to his Winter Words event, which will feature readings from a selection of poems.