March 24, 2017 / Modified mar 24, 2017 2:54 p.m.

US Poet Laureate Explores Positive Poetics with Tucson Students

A performance from Juan Felipe Herrera at Davis Bilingual; and a special message in Spanish from the poet.

Herrera kids U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera performs some impromptu theater with students from Davis Bilingual Elementary Magnet School, March 10, 2017. (PHOTO: Laura Maher, AZPM)

The auditorium of children squirmed, fidgeting and chattering. Davis Elementary Principal Carmen Campuzano brought their voices low by counting down to one, and U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera wriggled and crept on stage, cooing to them in Spanish and English.

Herrera had come to Tucson for the Festival of Books Friday, March 10, and paid a special visit to Davis Bilingual Elementary School that morning for an event organized by the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Listen below to audio excerpts of the performance, an interview with Herrera, and a special message in Spanish from the poet to the young people of Tucson.

From Arizona Spotlight:

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Juan Felipe Herrera Rothschild U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. (PHOTO: Nick O'Gara, AZPM)

Following his visit to Davis, Herrera went to the University for the naming of Tucson's new poet laureate, TC Tolbert. Herrera gave Arizona Public Media a special message in Spanish for the young people of Tucson.

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Juan Felipe herrera smile U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera at the Davis Bilingual Magnet School. (PHOTO: Nick O'Gara, AZPM)

Herrera wrote a poem that same morning, on a hotel writing pad from the Arizona Inn, which he titled "Bio-acoustical News of the Planet Earth." He said the concept of "bio-acoustics" is something he learned from the poet Eleni Sikelianos, and it deals with "the sound of all the animals, which includes us, on the planet. As you can see right now people are talking so we are all contributing to along with the birds and the hawks and at night, all the animals of the night, we're creating a bio-acoustical collective poem around the planet Earth. It's like a sonic tapestry that's always transmuting and moving."

Listen below to Herrera's "Bio-acoustical news of the planet Earth."

LISTEN

"We're creating a bio-acoustical collective poem around the planet Earth. It's like a sonic tapestry that's always transmuting and moving."

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