Poet Laureate’s News

December 2021

Phyllis MeshulamDear Sonomans,

Happy holidays!

If you don’t know it already, I’d like to introduce you to Juan Felipe Herrera’s “Let Us Gather in a Flourishing Way.” Last year, it seemed cruelly inappropriate as we prepared to meet with family just on Zoom, and I wrote my own poem called, “We Can’t Gather, Let Us Dream.” When I taught the lesson you’ll find here, as I usually have around the holidays, I included both poems.

Herrera was born the son of migrant farmworkers, traveling a lot as a child. I love the fact that he worked for a while with California Poets in the Schools, then went on to become a professor at Cal State Fullerton and at UC Riverside. He was named California Poet Laureate in 2012 and US Poet Laureate in 2015. He has written many books, quite a few for children. This particular poem switches back and forth between English and Spanish. And if you look up the PBS Newshour’s June 10, 2015 interview with Herrera, you’ll hear him read excerpts of the poem, sometimes out in the fields where he and his family labored.

Let-Us-GatherAgain, this lesson is from the wonderful book of lesson plans from California Poets in the Schools: Poetry Crossing. Get your copy here: www.californiapoets.org/lesson-plans

Good for adults and certainly for the children in your life.

Phyllis Meshulem
Sonoma County Poet Laureate 2020-2022


Archives of previous Poet Laureate columns may be found here for 2012,  2013, 2014,  20152016-2017, 2018-2020 and 2020-2022.

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