Juan Felípe Herrera was initiated into Word by the fire-speakers of the early Chicano Movimiento and by heavy exposure to various poetry, jazz and blues performance streams.  At times he worked as a graphic artist for political and arts periodicals such as La Verdad, Metamorfosis and La Gente, writing and publishing poetry all the while.  In 1970, his project to redefine a Latino poetics and dramatic political form led him to the indigenous cultures of Mexico, where he filmed rituals and recorded the songs and daily life of the Huichol, Totonaca and Lacandón Maya communities.  These experiments and journeys later served as the foundation for the various poetry collectives and open-genre teatros that he founded, such as Teatro Tolteca, Troka, Poetasumanos and Teatro Zapata.


Herrera is currently Associate Professor of Chicano and Latin American Studies at California State University in Fresno.  He has received degrees from UCLA, Stanford, and the Iowa Writers Workshop, and he is the author of, among many other books, Mayan Drifter:  Chicano Poet in the Lowlands of the Americas, Night Train to Tuxtla, and Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream.

     

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