An Evening with the Maestro – Reflection by JJ Wilson

JJ Wilson shares his thoughts on Juan Felipe Herrera’s visit:

The 21st Poet Laureate of the Unites States came to little Silver City this week. The place will never be the same. Herrera was a hurricane of ideas, poetry, stories, music and love.

In front of a packed house, he talked (and sang) about his childhood, about his days tending farm animals, about his father’s experiences jumping trains to get from Chihuahua to Colorado, and about a Buddhist cinema that inspired a poem. He spoke about the power of community to heal wounds in troubled times, and he marveled at our little community, which is full of poets and artists and musicians.

Juan Felipe Herrera and JJ Wilson read together at Light Hall, WNMU

Photo by Stewart Hale for Silver City Daily Press and Independent

There’s no other word for it: Herrera was sensational. With a gesture of his hand he conjured honey pouring from the heart; with just a few licks on his harmonica he magicked up happy times; with a fold of a tiny piece of paper he showed how a poem becomes a bird. Hell, the dude even let me do a duet with him – I read in English, he in Spanish.

Besides being a great poet, Herrera is just a tremendously inspiring man. He’s never forgotten his humble roots and I don’t think he’ll ever tire of encouraging people to express themselves and to go forward with love and curiosity. Bravo, maestro. You filled our hearts with love and life!

 


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