Voices of the Nation

In this three-part series, a panel of faculty poets, scholars, and Cal Lutheran honors students will explore the content and context of the work of three U.S. Poets Laureate.

Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate 2015-2017
Herrera will read from his new work on March 10.

Since 1937, the librarian of Congress has appointed a U.S. poet laureate to present readings and lectures and engage in national community-oriented poetry projects.

The Voices of the Nation series focuses on how poets and poetry examine America past and present, illuminating beauty, variety, power and prejudice. At each event, a panel of faculty poets and scholars will provide cultural context on topics such as social justice, immigration, and indigenous land struggles. Students currently enrolled in the Cal Lutheran Honors English class, Poetry and the National Consciousness, will present selected poems by the laureates.

All events are presented virtually from 7-8 p.m. PST. They are free and open to the public, but registration is required.

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In This Series

February 17

Wade in the Water book coverExploring the works of Tracy K. Smith

The first webinar on February 17 explores the work of Tracy K. Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate 2017-2019. She has written four books of poetry, earning the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, Cave Canem prize for best first book by an African American poet, the James Laughlin Award and Essence Literary Award. The panelists will be Cal Lutheran communication professor Russell Stockard and adjunct English faculty member Sheena Mason. Jacqueline Lyons, associate professor of English and creative writing, is the series host.

Watch the Recording

March 10

Every Day We Get More Illegal book coverJuan Felipe Herrera reads from his new work

The second webinar on March 10 explores the work of Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate 2015-2017. Herrera is the first Chicano poet to serve as U.S. Laureate and will read from his new collection of poetry, “Every Day We Get More Illegal” during the discussion of his work. He received the National Book Critics Circle Award, PEN/Beyond Margins Award and Americas Award. He also has written several prose books for children and is a performance artist and activist.

April 14

An American Sunrise book coverExploring the works of Joy Harjo

The third webinar on April 14 will focus on the work of Joy Harjo, current U.S. Poet Laureate, 2019-2021. Harjo is the first indigenous poet to serve as U.S. Laureate. She received the Ruth Lilly Prize from the Poetry Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Panelist TBA.

More Information

If you have questions about the series please email Jacqueline Lyons at jlyons@callutheran.edu.

CalHum logoThis project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.