The 2016 Festival Poets

  • Heather McHugh & Suzanne Parker
  • Brian Turner & Doug Anderson
  • Edward Hirsch & Clare Rossini
  • Juan Felipe Herrera, United States Poet Laureate & Peg Boyers
  • Kwame Dawes and the winners of the Fresh Voices Poetry Competition

 Juan Felipe Herrera, United States Poet Laureate

Juan Filipe HerreraJuan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United State (2015-2016) and is the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012–2014, Herrera served as California State Poet Laureate. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Notes on the Assemblage; Senegal TaxiHalf of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971-2007. He is also the author of Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse, which received the Americas Award. His books of prose for children include SkateFate; Calling The Doves, winner of the Ezra Jack Keats Award; Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City; and Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth.


Heather McHugh and Suzanne Parker, winner of the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize

Heather McHugh is the author of eight volumes of poetry, including Eyeshot, which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize, and Hinge and Sign, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Grant, and her work has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, PEN, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2006 and is currently the Millman Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Suzanne ParkerSuzanne Parker is the winner of the Kinereth Gensler Book Award.  Her poetry collection Viral was published by Alice James Books in 2013. Viral was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and listed on the National Library Association’s Over the Rainbow List of recommended books for 2014. Her poetry has appeared in Barrow Street, Diode, Cimarron Review, Hunger Mountain, and others. She is a winner of the Alice M. Sellars Award from the Academy of American Poets and was a Poetry Fellow at the Prague Summer Seminars. She is a poetry editor at MEAD: A Magazine of Literature and Libations.

Winners of the Fresh Voices Poetry Competition at the 2016 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival