Wednesday, June 24, 2015

It’s Raining Laureates! Juan Felipe Herrera, Jacqueline Woodson and Chris Riddell chosen

Juan Felipe Herrera has been selected by the Library of Congress as the next Poet Laureate of the United States. Herrera, the son of migrant farmworkers, served as poet laureate of California from 2012 to 2014. He was educated at UCLA and Stanford and holds an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Herrera has published more than a dozen collections of poetry, including 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border:
Undocuments 1971-2007; Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (2008); and Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream (1999), as well as short stories, young adult novels, and children’s literature.

The Poetry Foundation wrote of him:

Influenced by Allen Ginsberg, Herrera’s poetry brims with simultaneity and exuberance, and often takes shape in mural-like, rather than narrative, frames. NY Times critic Stephen Burt praised Herrera as one of the first poets to successfully create “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.”

Herrera is also a performance artist and activist. His awards include the Hungry Mind Award of Distinction, the Focal Award, two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, and a PEN West Poetry Award, the Ezra Keats Award, and the Americas Award. In 2009, he was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Prize. His honors include the UC Berkeley Regent’s Fellowship as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Stanford Chicano Fellows.

In announcing the award, James Billington, the Librarian of Congress, said, “I see in Herrera’s poems the work of an American original – work that takes the sublimity and largess of ‘Leaves of Grass’ and expands upon it…His poems engage in a serious sense of play.”

Jacqueline Woodson has been named the new Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation, “in recognition of a career devoted to writing exceptional poetry for young readers.” During her two year appointment, Woodson will advise the Poetry Foundation on matters relating to children’s literature as well as engaging in projects to promote poetry to children and their families, teachers and librarians.

In making the announcement, Robert Polito, President of the Poetry Foundation said,

So many writers settle on a style and repertoire of gestures and subjects, but Woodson, like her characters, is always in motion and always discovering something fresh. As she once told an interviewer, “If you have no road map, you have to create your own.” Her gifts, adventurousness and generosity suggest that she will be a terrific young people’s poet laureate.

Woodson is the author of more than thirty books for children and young adults, including Notebooks of Melanin Sun, Miracle’s Boys; Hush; Coming On Home Soon; Behind You; Show Way, Feathers, After Tupac & D Foster; Beneath a Meth Moon; and Brown Girl Dreaming. She has won the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize; the National Book Award, the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, the St. Katharine Drexel Award and the Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature. Her books have also been named Coretta Scott King Honor Book, Caldecott Honor Book, and Newberry Honor Books.

Across the pond, Illustrator Chris Riddell was named the UK Children’s Laureate this week. Ridell will use his two year appointment to “focus on creativity and visual literacy, extolling the meditative pleasure – for everyone – of creating a drawing every day.”

At a ceremony earlier this month, he announced that he would post a daily illustration on an online “laureate log.” He intends to “open a conversation about the great heritage of UK writers and illustrators,” and said that he would appear at branches of Waterstones Books for “impromptu drawing sessions.” Riddell wants to encourage people to draw every day and he intends “to celebrate librarians at the heart of our schools.” (Michelle Pauli, The Guardian, 6/9/15)

Riddell writes and illustrates the Ottoline series and, with Paul Stewart, The Edge Chronicles, Muddle Earth and Barnaby Grimes books. He is also the political cartoonist for The Observer. In 2014, he won the Costa Children’s Book Award for his Goth Girl and The Ghost of a Mouse. He has also won two Kate Greenaway Medals.

Julia Eccleshare, a member of the selection panel said of Riddell’s work:

With dedicated followers – from preschoolers who love Mr Underbed to adult readers of the Observer who enjoy his Sunday cartoons, and not forgetting the passionate fans of Goth Girl, the Edge Chronicles and Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle – Chris’s reach as an author and illustrator is exceptional. His witty, atmospheric and evocative illustrations are contemporary and classic, referencing the line drawings of John Tenniel and Arthur Rackham, among others.

No comments:

Post a Comment