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California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera to Read Poem to Commemorate New Bay Bridge

By Harriet Staff


Well, here’s a cool poetry reading on Labor Day!

University of California, Riverside, announced that faculty member and Poet Laureate of California, Juan Felipe Herrera, will participate in the chain- cutting ceremony for the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — As a child in the 1950s, Juan Felipe Herrera and his mother would board a Greyhound bus in San Diego for a 14-hour trip to visit cousins in San Francisco. He looked forward to the moment when they crossed the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

“I was mesmerized at the lights and as we crossed I knew something beautiful was about to happen,” recalled Herrera, a professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside who was named California Poet Laureate in March 2012.

Herrera will return to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on Labor Day to participate in a traditional chain-cutting ceremony celebrating completion of the bridge’s eastern span, which features the largest self-anchored suspension span in the world. Significant damage from the 7.1-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 necessitated replacement of the eastern span.

With an audience of labor and transportation leaders, local and state elected officials, and the mayors of Oakland and San Francisco, Herrera will read a poem commissioned for the event, “Bay Bridge Inauguration Poem, Labor Day 2013, for all bridge dreamers, bridge builders & bridge crossers.” His poem will be framed and displayed in a state facility near the bridge.

“This is a great honor for me to represent California, our university, and the families whose children build dreams as they cross over the waters from one city to another,” Herrera said. “I was one of those children.”

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Posted in Poetry News on Thursday, August 29th, 2013 by Harriet Staff.