Governor Newsom Appoints California’s Poet Laureate


Lee Herrick of Fresno will be 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 in Lake Tahoe. A former Poet Laureate of Fresno, Herrick’s work is a living celebration of the Californian experience. “As a teacher, poet and father, Lee writes movingly about his identity as a Californian and encourages others to reflect on what the state means to them,” Governor Newsom said. “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 to inspire communities and individuals. across the state through the power of the written word. Herrick’s poetic canon explores the diversity and vitality of the Californian experience and the exhilarating success of the American experience. Born in Daejeon, South Korea and adopted as a child, he grew up in Modesto immersed in literature, art and various cultural influences.

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

Herrick writes eloquently about the immigrant experience – bringing to life the smell of chapchae and the sound of mariachi trumpets, the midnight farmers’ market and the chatter of Armenian neighbors. Herrick’s work is a Whitmanesque celebration of the best spirit of our state, the vibrancy of the Central Valley, and ourselves.

“I am deeply honored, humbled and thrilled to be named California Poet Laureate,” said Herrick, who will use his platform called Our California to bring poetry together with a social justice or civic engagement organization in each city. that he visits during his mandate. as Poet Laureate. “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, writers and readers in all this great State, friends, teachers, colleagues, students and above all, my family, my parents and my sister, as well as my wife and my daughter for their love and light. Herrick served as Poet Laureate for the City of Fresno from 2015-2017, where he led local efforts to bring communities together and inspire young people to express themselves through writing. “I am thrilled to have Lee Herrick as California’s next Poet Laureate. Lee’s poetry invites us to reflect on our love of California and reminds us of the values ​​we hold so dear – our inclusiveness, empathy and creativity,” said First Associate Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “Lee’s deep understanding of culture and community along with his undeniable talent will undoubtedly guide him through his tenure as our state’s poetry advocate. 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 has been published in the Bloomsbury Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, normal school, The Poetry Foundation, ZYZYVA, and other publications. He has contributed to numerous anthologies, particularly those examining the literary flourishing of California’s Central Valley. Herrick is the author of three books of poetry: Scar and Flower, Gardening Secrets of the Dead and These many miles of desire. The California Poet Laureate is charged with championing poetry in classrooms and lecture halls across the state, inspiring an emerging generation of literary artists, and educating all Californians about the many poets and authors who influenced our state through creative literary expression. During a two-year term, the Poet Laureate delivers public readings in urban and rural areas of California, educates city and state leaders on the value of poetry and creative expression, and undertakes a significant cultural project , one of its aims being to bring poetry to students who might otherwise have little opportunity to access it. This position requires Senate confirmation and the California Arts Council provides an annual stipend. Herrick is a Democrat.


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