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Lee Herrick chosen as the subsequent California poet laureate

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday appointed Lee Herrick, a Fresno-based author and professor, to be the state’s poet laureate, citing a physique of labor that “explores the range and vitality of the California expertise and the exhilarating success of the American experiment.”

Herrick, 52, was born in Daejeon, South Korea, and adopted when he was 10 months outdated by dad and mom from Northern California. Previously Fresno’s poet laureate, he teaches at Fresno Metropolis Faculty and within the MFA program on the College of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe. He has a spouse and daughter and lives in Fresno.

Herrick is the writer of three poetry collections — “Scar and Flower,” “Gardening Secrets and techniques of the Lifeless” and “This Many Miles From Need” — and has printed verse in quite a few literary magazines, anthologies and textbooks.

“As a trainer, poet, and father, Lee writes movingly about his identification as a Californian and encourages others to replicate on what the state means to them,” Newsom mentioned in a press release. “Lee’s dedication to highlighting the varied experiences of Californians, and making them so accessible by way of his poetry, makes him an ideal candidate for Poet Laureate. I look ahead to his work to encourage communities and people throughout the state by way of the ability of the written phrase.”

The state’s earlier poet laureate was Dana Gioia, a former chairman of Nationwide Endowment for the Arts, who stuffed the position from 2015 to 2018. The place had been vacant since Gioia’s departure.

“I’m deeply honored, humbled, and excited to be named California Poet Laureate,” Herrick mentioned in a press release.

Herrick spoke to The Occasions in 2021 about being an Asian adoptee raised by white dad and mom. He started to find his Korean identification when he was in faculty after rising up in Danville, Calif. Having been the one scholar of coloration at his elementary faculty, he mentioned books had been his main entry to details about the tradition he’d been born into.

Asian adoptees “start to consider that they’re virtually if not completely white,” he mentioned. “That’s a hazard for everyone concerned. There are some who deny their identities nicely into their 50s.”

Herrick’s new position will see him advocating for the artwork of poetry in lecture rooms and boardrooms alike. He’ll serve a two-year time period, as soon as confirmed by the state Senate, and can obtain a stipend from the California Arts Council.



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