Governor Newsom names California poet laureate

Lee Herrick of Fresno becomes California’s 10th Poet Laureate

SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom today named Lee Herrick as California’s 10th Poet Laureate. Herrick, 52, of Fresno, is a writer and professor who teaches at Fresno City College and the MFA program at the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe. A former Fresno Poet Laureate, Herrick’s work is a vibrant celebration of the California experience. “As a teacher, poet and father, Lee writes movingly about his identity as a Californian and encourages others to think about what the state means to them,” said Governor Newsom. “Lee’s dedication to highlighting the diverse experiences of Californians and making them so accessible through his poetry makes him a perfect candidate for Poet Laureate. I look forward to his work inspiring communities and individuals across the state through the power of the written word.” Herrick’s canon of poetry explores the richness and vitality of the California experience and the heady success of the American experiment. Born in Daejeon, South Korea and adopted as a child, he grew up in Modesto immersed in literature, art and diverse cultural influences.

Governor Newsom and First Partner Siebel Newsom meet with California Poet Laureate Lee Herrick

Herrick writes eloquently about the immigration experience – he brings the smell of to life chapchae and the sound of mariachi trumpets, the midnight farmer’s market and the small talk of the Armenian neighbors. Herrick’s work is a Whimanesque celebration of our state’s best spirit, the vibrancy of the Central Valley, and ourselves.

“I am deeply honored, humbled and excited to be named California Poet Laureate,” said Herrick, who will use his Our California platform to share poetry with an organization in every city he visits during his tenure for social justice or civic engagement as a poet prince. “I am grateful to Governor Newsom, his staff, First Partner Siebel Newsom, the Fresno Arts Council, the City of Fresno for making me a poet, poets and writers and readers in this great state, friends, teachers, colleagues, students and most of all my family, my parents and my sister as well as my wife and daughter for their love and light.” Herrick was the City of Fresno Poet Laureate from 2015-2017, where he led local efforts to bridge communities and engage young people in writing. “I’m thrilled that Lee Herrick will be California’s next Poet Laureate. Lee’s poetry invites us to reflect on our love for California and reminds us of the values ​​we hold dear – our inclusivity, empathy and creativity,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “Lee’s deep understanding of culture and community, as well as his undeniable talent, will no doubt guide him throughout his tenure as champion of our state’s poetry. I look forward to working with him as he spreads the love and appreciation for poetry and literature throughout California, especially among our youth.” Herrick’s work was published in the Bloomsbury review, Columbia Poetry Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, the normal school, The Poetry Foundation, ZYZZYVA, and other publications. He is the author of numerous anthologies, particularly those examining the literary heyday of California’s Central Valley. Herrick is the author of three volumes of poetry: Scar and Flower, Garden Secrets of the Dead and So many miles from Desire. The California Poet Laureate is charged with advocating poetry in classrooms and boardrooms across the state, inspiring a rising generation of literary artists, and educating all Californians about the many poets and authors who have impacted our state through creative literary expression. Over the course of a two-year tenure, the Poet Laureate provides public readings in urban and rural areas throughout California, educates heads of state and state on the value of poetry and creative expression, and conducts a significant cultural project, with one of its goals being poetry to students to people who might otherwise have little access to it. This position is subject to Senate confirmation, and the California Arts Council provides an annual stipend. Herrick is a Democrat.

About Stephanie McGehee

Check Also

8 surf destinations with more than great waves

Dedicated surfers notoriously have a one-track attitude when it comes to their passion, chasing waves …