For Jayne Cortez, R.I.P.

By Juan Felipe HerreraJanuary 5, 2013

For Jayne Cortez, R.I.P.

Photo of Jayne Cortez by Amir Bey


Bisbee Poetry Festival, 1985, Southern Arizona

For Jayne Cortez, rip


It was you &

Rochelle Owens & her many words for one word

& Ashbury who spoke of Nordic myth & the mystic house

Yes lightning hit when he said that

& Acker who wrote Don Quixote we must steal it she said

Ed Sanders played his piano tie wired

His own harmonics near the Beat heart I shimmied on stage

My Dallas Cowboys jersey & my Viet Nam jungle boots

We were

About to turn into this fire-world without measure

You saw that you burned with that

You saw that


 — Juan Felipe Herrera


LARB Contributor

Born in Fowler, California — learned corridos and rhymes from his mother, Lucha, on the farm working roads and small towns. His father, Felipe, played harmonica telling tales of work in early 1900’s Wyoming. He graduated from UCLA, Stanford and the University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop. His awards include the Guggenheim Poetry Fellowship, the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, LA Times  Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award and recently, the International Latino Book Award. He is Emeritus Professor from Fresno State’s Chicano and Latin American Studies program and UC-Riverside’s Department of Creative Writing. In the last decade he has served as a Chancellor of the Board of the Academy of American Poets, California’s Poet Laureate, and the Poet Laureate of the United States. Recent book is Every Day We Get More Illegal.


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