The school I attend, Smith College, hosted Juan Felipe Herrera, current U.S. Poet Laureate, during this past fall semester. Before the announcement of the event, I had not even heard about him or about what a Poet Laureate was. But, I decided to attend the event either way because having a latino speak on campus was not something that occurred every day. Little did I know that his position basically meant that he was the official poet of the country and seeks to raise the national consciousness and greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry. I learned that he had received many awards and had written around 28 books. I expected him to come from an affluent family, but I was wrong. When I read more about him, I found out that he was the son of migrant farm workers .
During the event, he read several pieces of his poetry and I cried while being in disbelief. I could not believe that someone so powerful, with such an important role in literature, was like me. Some friends and I decided to stay after the event and wait until he signed books for other people. Sadly, we did not have the money to buy our own books even though we wanted his autograph. However, at the end, he signed for us yellow pieces of paper that had some of his poems, giving us each the name of an Aztec God or Goddess, giving me the name of the Goddess of the Earth. He spent more than 20 minutes talking to us and encouraging us to continue doing good in school and to continue growing. He was humble and absolutely amazing. Seeing someone that reminded me of my parents at a time when I needed it the most, was refreshing. I am glad to have met him and talked to him. He may not know this but he reminded me to never give up and chase my dreams because my ethnicity will not stop me.