Former U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera is this year’s winner of the Frost Medal for lifetime achievement, with judges praising him for a “a poetic voice that is both deeply embedded and wholly original.”
Herrera, 74, is known for such collections as “Half the World in Light” and “187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border.” He was poet laureate from 2015-17.
“His poems move as he moves — through nature, through working-class communities of color, through political protests — though it would be more accurate to say he moves with them, for while Herrera is a keen observer he is never just looking on,” reads his citation Wednesday from the Poetry Society of America’s Board of Governors.
“His poems are acts of solidarity, a kind of extended family gathering, especially for Latinx, Indigenous, and other communities of color,” the citation also read.
Previous recipients of the medal, named for the late Robert Frost, include Wallace Stevens, Adrienne Rich and Sharon Olds.