Billington gave this statement in the press release: “I see in Herrera’s poems the work of an American original—work that takes the sublimity and largesse of ‘Leaves of Grass’ and expands upon it. His poems engage in a serious sense of play—in language and in image—that I feel gives them enduring power. I see how they champion voices, traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity.”
Herrera (pictured, via) served as the Poet Laureate of California from 2012 to 2015. Throughout his writing career, he has published 28 poetry collections, young adult novels, and children’s books. To check out some of his poems, visit the Poetry Foundation website.