California has appointed a new poet laureate. Gov. Jerry Brown announced that Juan Felipe Herrera, chair of the creative writing department at the University of California, Riverside, will fill the role administered by the California Arts Council.
Herrera says that, under his new title, he would like to help launch a writing project to shed light on an issue that plagues most schools: bullying.
"It’s such a big, painful issue," Herrera says. "I think poetry is suited just perfectly to bring that issue up."
If the state Senate approves his appointment, Herrera will serve a two-year term. He’s written 28 books, and three years ago he won the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry.