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Juan Felipe Herrara
Former US Poet Laureate
“I want to be in these classrooms. I want to shake hands with each poet. I want to have quesadillas with all the teachers and congratulate them. And all these fresh-voiced poets across California, I want to join them; I want to dream with them as we sit in a circle of laughter and true music, the music of their lives."
- Juan Felipe Herrara, US Poet Laureate and California Poets in the Schools supporter
"Poetry became “the light that saved me.” Words suddenly took on individual forms and shapes to create visual spectacles beyond what I would see everyday during the few hours every week that our Poet-Teacher, John Oliver Simon, dedicated to our third grade classroom. All the experiences that seemed to stay shut in my mouth now had a way to escape. Unlike other days in class where there always seemed to be an order to things or an expected answer to everything, during time in class with our Poet-Teacher Mr. Simon, answers multiplied by the minute. Eleven years later and as a sophomore in college the memories of those classes still remain."
- Carmen Jimenez, All City Council Student Director '14-'15, Oakland Unified School District, Oakland, CA