Giving voice to the power of poetry

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During National Poetry Month, 21st U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will visit the state to celebrate the vital role of poets in our world. A public event including a poetry reading, conversation, and book signing at the Currier Museum of Art on April 11 kicks off "A Year of New Voices" for our Connections adult literacy program. Mr. Herrera’s trip also includes a visit with English language learners from many countries in Nashua and interviews with state media.

Terry Farish, Connections coordinator (and a published poet and author herself), invited the Poet Laureate in part, she explained, because of poetry’s unique ability to illustrate our common experience as citizens and human beings. "Poetry is so important in exploring conflicts, speaking for inclusion, and opening to disparate perspectives," she said. "There is nothing more essential than to be in community, be free to tell one’s story, and reflect on the stories of one another, as Herrera’s poems offer," she said.

The child of California migrant workers, Herrera has given voice to a wide range of Americans and the American experience. "We’re all poets and we’re all looking for words," said Herrera. "We find ourselves in this desert of broken languages. It’s a tough time and it’s a beautiful time, because now we have to pick up the pieces and find out what we want to say, and how to say it."

Over 20 years ago, the Academy of American Poets named April National Poetry Month. Since then, millions of readers, students, teachers, librarians, booksellers, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets have made this the largest literary celebration in the world.