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Honoring Lee Herrick: A Celebration of Poetry

Jan 24, 2023

Fresno City College proudly celebrates the appointment of Lee Herrick as California’s 10th Poet Laureate with a special evening of poetry readings on Thursday, Feb 9.  The Celebration of Poetry will be held in the Old Administration Building Auditorium beginning at 5:30 p.m. followed by a reception and book signing in OAB 251. Admission is free.

On November 18, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the selection of the Fresno City College English instructor and published poet to the two-year appointment. He is the first Asian American to serve in the role.

“It is a true honor and deeply humbling to be appointed California Poet Laureate. I am excited to advocate for poetry throughout this great state in every way that I can. I believe there is poetry in everyone and that it can nourish, inspire, and bring joy to our lives,” said Herrick.

Herrick was born in Daejeon, South Korea, adopted at ten months of age, and raised in Modesto.  He shares this life experience and more in the three books of poems he has written: Scar and Flower, Gardening Secrets of the Dead, and This Many Miles from Desire. His works have also been published in many anthologies. In 2015 he was selected by the Fresno Arts Council as the Poet Laureate for the City of Fresno. He co-founded the literary poetry event, LitHop, in 2016.

Herrick has been teaching at Fresno City College since 1997.  One of his former students, David Campos, is now one of Herrick’s English Department colleagues. He says students are fortunate to have someone of Herrick’s caliber teaching them.

“Having faculty at Fresno City College with such high distinctions and honors as those at any university further affirms my experience that the education I had here at Fresno City College was elite. This distinction serves as a bright beacon of hope not only for Fresno City College but for the larger community we serve. Greatness is achievable by anyone who dreams. And art can be a pathway to that level of success,” Campos said.

Campos will emcee the Feb. 9 event that will include readings from Herrick’s former and current students, colleagues, community members and Herrick himself. The lineup includes current students Shane Lara and Katie Quigley; former students Joseph Rios and I Adeficha; colleagues Marisol Baca, Juan Luis Guzman and Kenneth Chacon; and Fresno poet Brynn Saito.

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