City Lights Author Juan Felipe Herrera Receives PEN West Poetry Award!
For his collection of verse spanning over three decades, 187 Reasons Mexicanos CCity Lights Author Juan Felipe Herrera Receives PEN West Poetry Award!
For his collection of verse spanning over three decades, 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border, Juan Felipe Herrera has been awarded this year's PEN West award for outstanding poetry. City Lights congratulates the "wildly inventive" (New York Times) Juan Felipe!
Read the praise for 187 Reasonsin the New York Times Book Review! "Herrera is . . . a sometimes hermetic, wildly inventive, always unpredictable poet, whose work commands attention for its style alone. . . Many poets since the 1960s have dreamed of a new hybrid art, part oral, part written, part English, part something else: an art grounded in ethnic identity, fueled by collective pride, yet irreducibly individual too. Many poets have tried to create such an art: Herrera is one of the first to succeed." --New York Times Book Review
Check out 187Express.com for Juan Felipe's blog, bio, tour updates, and more!
Juan Felipe Herrera’s writings are charged with theatrical and athletic energies. A hybrid collection of texts written and performed on the road, gathered from more than thirty-five years of work in various genres, these “undocuments” are the record of an epic journey across many different borders: boundaries of nations, state lines, city limits, edges of farmland, crossings and mixtures of languages and literary forms.
From Mexico City to San Francisco, from Central America to central California, Herrera remembers everything and gives back to his native places and to the family, friends and compañeros of his Mexican/American/Chicano odyssey a scrapbook, a logbook, a journal, a multiform confession of proud hybridity and indigenous optimism. A sustained manifesto of resistance and affirmation, these rants, manifestos, newspaper cut-ups, bits of street theatre, anti-lectures, love poems and riffs tell the story of what it’s like to live outlaw and brown in the United States.
Illustrated throughout with photos and artwork.
“Papers? Permits? Documents? Identification? Open this book anywhere and find the authorization to keep on, permission to be who you are in your own skin, license to cultivate your inner guerrilla, angelic visas of transcendent transit. This book is the passport to a country under construction.” — from the Introduction by Stephen Kessler
Juan Felipe Herrera is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. Author of 21 books, he is also a community arts leader and a dynamic performer and actor. He is the son of Mexican immigrants and grew up in the migrant fields of California.
Praise for 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross The Border:
"¡Por fin! A manifesto you can dance to. Juan Felipe Herrera's searing laments and soulful riffs don't just electrify. They Mexify."—Stephanie Elizondo Griest, author of Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana
"I’ve been reading Juan Felipe Herrera since he was little baby poet in the 1970s, and this volume, which collects published and unpublished community pieces from the last three decades, gives me an almost painful pleasure. He is the eternal teen poet, the timeless Beat, the premodern postmodern. He is Walt Whitman, Ezekiel, Pablo Neruda, Langston Hughes, Scheherazade, Carlos Fuentes, Allen Ginsberg, Frida Kahlo, Groucho and Karl Marx, Emily Dickinson, Santana, Lao Tzu, and Octavio Paz rolled up and squeezed through dreams of Aztlan and justice and jazz. He is Floricanto. And 187 Reasons, more than anything he has written, is his autobiography."—Tom Lutz, author of Doing Nothing, Crying, and Cosmopolitan Vistas
"Juan Felipe Herrera has written a giant verbal mural bursting with the inventiveness, rhythmic colorings, social engagement and humor — in forms of poetry, litany, and autobiography — that reveal not only the greatness but the absolute necessity of Chicano culture. This is a major generational work by a brilliant practitioner of the art of living the word."—Jack Hirschman, poet laureate of the City of San Francisco
"There are at least 187 reasons why you should read Herrera’s 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border. A very abbreviated list would include: Because it is some of the strongest poetry, memoir, satire, and theater that you will find in one book- Because within it are over forty years of artfully recorded passion, anger, engagement, humor and love- Because it will carry you across, over and through languages, borders, and cultures revealing truths, asking hard questions, and insisting we see the power not only on of writer as witness, and the power of writer as memory, but the power of writer as conscious revolutionary striving towards a more just and humane world- Because it is a pleasure that will awaken and engage all of your senses as it touches and does not let go of your heart."– devorah major author of Brown Glass Windows, Open Weave, street smarts and Where River Meets Ocean.
"Aware, phosphorescent and immediate, this is language brilliantly engaged. Juan Felipe Herrera is simultaneous lighthouse and lightning, the flash that carries the warning and the live wire. For three decades now Herrera’s hot-colored Surrealism has transmitted one of the strongest border radio signals of alt-poetics from the Mission District to St. Mark’s Poetry Project, from the Taos Poetry Circus to Bisbee, from the first Floricantos of the Bay Area or cross-border exchanges in Tijuana and D.F., Chiapas and Yucatan to San Diego, L. A., Austin and beyond. This poetics makes a practice of making a difference. Here available together for the first time are wide-ranging selections from dozens of Herrera’s outstanding ‘experimental’ mixed-genre books, many of which had eccentric or limited original distribution. Contextualized with photos, historical notes and chronology, 187 Reasons serves up both continental panorama and meta-document in the practice of a poetics that comes alive with startling vitality---across borders of political silence and censorship of the Other, semiotic deserts and actual killing fields."– Sesshu Foster author of Atomik Aztex and American Loneliness: Selected Poems ...more
“You will probably be our greatest living poet since Whitman.”—Henry Miller, letter to Philip Lamantia, 1/26/55
The latest installment of the Pocket Po“You will probably be our greatest living poet since Whitman.”—Henry Miller, letter to Philip Lamantia, 1/26/55
The latest installment of the Pocket Poets Series presents two long-lost books from the classic Beat period. Tau is Philip Lamantia's mystical second collection of poems, slated for publication in 1955 but suppressed by the poet due to his evolving religious beliefs. Mysterious and austere, the poems of Tau are an essential addition to Lamantia's published work, documenting the period between his teenage surrealist debut Erotic Poems (1946) and the religious poems of Ekstasis (1959), also the period of his closest association with Kenneth Rexroth. Later in 1955, when he participated in the 6 Gallery reading where Allen Ginsberg debuted"Howl," Lamantia read none of his own work, instead reading the poems of his best friend, John Hoffman (1928-1952), a legendary Beat poet who died of unknown causes in Mexico at age 24. An archetype of the Beat-era hipster—tall, lean, goateed, and bespectacled—Hoffman is depicted along with Lamantia and others in "Howl," as well as in Kerouac's The Dharma Bums (1958). Yet despite its literary and historical importance, Hoffman's work has never before been published.
Journey to the End makes available for the first time all of Hoffman's surviving poems, an event for scholars and fans of Beat literature. Presented together in a single volume, Tau and Journey to the End are two of the most significant recent additions to the Beat canon. The volume also includes Lamantia's commentary on his friend's life and work, poems by Lamantia dedicated to Hoffman, and detailed biographical notes on both poets.
Praise for Tau and Journey to the End:
“Here are Philip Lamantia’s light-scattering jewels of the Fifties!” —Michael McClure, author of Huge Dreams: San Francisco and Beat Poems
“The rediscovery of Tau is the literary equivalent of finding lost treasure. Alchemical gold––blood of pure imagination––courses through these lines by the magus of American poetry.” —Andrew Joron, author of The Cry at Zero: Selected Prose...more
King of Shadows is a collection of twenty-one autobiographical essays chronicling the author's gay life and life as a poet in San Francisco since theKing of Shadows is a collection of twenty-one autobiographical essays chronicling the author's gay life and life as a poet in San Francisco since the 1960s. In the title essay, Shurin describes his coming into poetry and gay identity via a high-school production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Other essays tell of his deep relationships with poets Denise Levertov and Robert Duncan, and the influence of the sexual politics of the '70s. In “The Bars of Heaven and Hell,” we are given a personal history of venturing into gay bars in pre-Stonewall San Francisco. Written in a lyrical, literary, yet highly personal style, Shurin’s intelligent and insightful essays circle in and around issues of identity and sensibility, and how our interior and public lives are shaped by them.
Praise for King of Shadows:
"There are lots of reasons you want to read this book. Among them: because there are quite a lot of astonishingly apt and incisive and occasionally uproarious descriptions of the subtleties of everyday life; because many of the sentences are also as perfect as English allows; because it's a wonderfully wry and roundabout guide to gay and literary San Francisco; because you actually do need to know how a person is like a flower and a flower like a person; because it also dowses for and find unexpected pleasures that we particularly need at this moment in time." —Rebecca Solnit, author of A Field Guide to Getting Lost, River of Shadows, and Hope in the Dark
“His luminous descriptive prose . . . injects lightness. . . . Shurin scatters several short pieces about gardens and flowers throughout the collection; these read like gorgeous, airy confections. Gradually these disparate essays coalesce into autobiography, and a picture—appealing in its completeness—emerges of Shurin as thinker, as poet, as member of the San Francisco gay community, and as human." —Katherine D. Stutzman, Pleiades...more
Praise for Dying To Live: "Nevins’s book, thanks to excellent research and a nuanced application of theory, demonstrates not only professional excellenPraise for Dying To Live: "Nevins’s book, thanks to excellent research and a nuanced application of theory, demonstrates not only professional excellence but also an ongoing commitment to justice and human rights. By calling the entire notion of a 'right to be here' into question, Dying to Live serves as a powerful antidote to nationalistic amnesia on the part of the U.S. public, which has been too willing to embrace a shortsighted version of U.S.-Mexican history. By analyzing enforcement in the space of the border, he has provided an extension of the concept of structural violence. Those of us living in border states, especially Arizona, owe Nevins our appreciation. He shows how one can analyze policy information in a way that clearly communicates how common racial constructions support and extend the state’s use of violence." --Raquel Rubio Goldsmith, North American Congress on Latin America
“In Dying to Live, Joseph Nevins and Mizue Aizeki have produced an important and visually moving book that adds to our knowledge of the border and its place in history. Nevins’ painstaking research documents the development of the Imperial Valley—its industrial agriculture, its divided cities, and the chasms between rich and poor, Mexican and anglo, that have marred its growth. Through the valley runs the border, and Nevins’ accounts of the growth of border enforcement on the U.S. side, and the racism of its legal justifications, will be a strong weapon for human rights activists. Mizue Aizeki takes her camera and tells the story of Julio Cesar Gallegos, who died in the desert trying to make it across. Her images of the stacked bodies of border crossers held in refrigerator trucks, and the barrenness of the ocotillo cactus on the flat hardpan are eloquent testimony to the terrible risks and human costs imposed on migrants. Her beautifully composed portraits of Gallegos’ family make a direct appeal to the heart in a way that words cannot. And her documentation of border protests and immigrant rights demonstrations, including the rows of jugs of water put out in the desert to save lives, are all compelling evidence that there is a struggle going on to halt the human rights crisis she and Nevins document.” —David Bacon, author of Communities Without Borders: Images and Voices from the World of Migration
“Joseph Nevins blows the red-neck cover off the right wing engineered scapegoating of “illegal” immigrants by meticulously and grippingly compiling the history of why so many try to come to the US, and, tragically, why so many die. His important work forces us to go beyond the simple debate of legal versus illegal and instead focus on the current government policy that is literally killing thousands. Nevins strikes at our very moral core when he asks: are we a nation that will continue to allow thousands of innocent people to die and do nothing to reverse this grave injustice?” —Deepa Fernandes, author of Targeted, Homeland Security and the Business of Immigration
“…a fierce and courageous denunciation of the foul politics of immigration and the two-thousand mile tragedy of the Mexican border, snaking its way between two worlds, two nations, separated at birth but forever joined at the hip. Starting from one man’s blackened corpse, the tale wends its way across the desert of racial amnesia to reveal the sources of America’s reactionary (and futile) attempt at closure of a porous frontier. Deftly stitching together disparate times and places – from the Imperial Valley to Zacatecas to Mexicali and back to East L.A. - Nevins and Aizeki weave a memorial quilt to the hundreds of innocents in unmarked graves.” —Richard Walker, professor of geography, UC Berkeley, and author of The Conquest of Bread and The Country in the City.
"Dying to Live is a compelling, perceptive and invaluable book for our times. Our new apartheid, as explored here, is as bleak and hostile as the landscapes in which people lose their lives trying merely to survive. Those lives delineated here are unforgettable." —Susan Straight, author of A Million Nightingales and Highwire Moon
"Invisible in life, like most exploited immigrants, Julio Cesar Gallegos now judges us from the hour of his terrible death. He reminds us – thanks to the passionate investigations of Nevins and Aizeki – that the eyeless corpses in the Imperial Valley are murder victims: abandoned to heat, thirst, and anonymous graves by a border politics compounded of historical ignorance and contempt for human rights." —Mike Davis is the author, most recently, of Planet of Slums and In Praise of Barbarians...more