Fresno's Rich Literary Landscape: Poets

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Fresno has a rich literary heritage! Here are some of the inspiring poets with a strong connection to Fresno.

Mai Der Vang 🕮 Poet

Mai Der Vang grew up in Fresno & currently teaches poetry at Fresno State. Her first book, Afterland, won the Walt Whitman Award. Her second book, Yellow Rain, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and winner of an American Book Award. Her poetry is courageous, authentic, and vibrant, exploring & illuminating the rich culture of the Hmong community. Learn more at

  Two books of poetry by Mai Der Vang        Two books by Margarita Engle       

Margarita Engle 🕮 Author

Margarita Engle is an award-winning Cuban American writer who lives in Clovis. She was the 2017-2019 national Young People’s Poet Laureate. She began her career writing books for adults, but turned to writing children’s books in verse. Her works sparkle with the wonder and joy of nature and life. I recently read Singing with Elephants, and I am currently reading Forest World. You can find more about her works at:

Lee Herrick 🕮 Poet 

California’s current Poet Laureate was Fresno’s Poet Laureate from 2015 – 2017.  He has published three books of poems: Scar and Flower, Gardening Secrets of the Dead, and This Many Miles From Desire. Born in South Korea and raised in California, he teaches at Fresno City College. Learn more at

Juan Felipe Herrera 🕮 Poet 

A Fowler native who was America’s Poet Laureate from 2015 – 2017. Learn more at

Philip Levine 🕮 Poet 

A highly regarded poet known for his gritty poems about working-class Detroit. He taught at Fresno State for 30 years. Learn more at