Within ten minutes of his first day of school Juan Felipe Herrera was spanked, scolded, and left crying, all for speaking Spanish, the only language he knew. You wouldn't have guessed it then, but Herrera would grow up to be named the United States Poet Laureate. Twice.
His journey may never have happened if it weren't for his third-grade teacher, Mrs. Sampson.
"She said something that stayed with me for the rest of my life, and that I tell everyone I meet," Herrera said in an interview on KCUR's Up To Date, "you have a beautiful voice."
U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will discuss his life and career at the Kansas City Public Library's Central Library at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 27. For more information, and to RSVP, visit kclibrary.org.