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Every Day We Get More Illegal by [Juan Felipe Herrera]

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Every Day We Get More Illegal Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 36 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews



"Every Day is a hard-hitting, witnessing collection about trauma, living as an immigrant in the US, the US-Mexico border wall, ICE detention centers, and physical familial separations."—Gabriela Portillo Alvarado, Jacket 2

"The better angels of his nature: In Every Day We Get More Illegal, Juan Felipe Herrera doubles down on hope."—David Ulin, Alta 

"What began in Herrera's Every Day We Get More Illegal as a quiet portrayal of witnessing the effects and experiences of migrating north, soon becomes an edgy yet soulful expression that shows the spectrum of suffering and marginalization of those who are undocumented."—Francisco A. Lomelí, The Los Angeles Review of Books

"Every Day We Get Illiegal is filled with poems of unflinching wisdom. . . . Herrera has perfected being direct and beautiful while knitting history into the current time."—Barbara Berman, The Rumpus

" . . .  furious, evocative, and urgent, until, with a sort of quiet peace, Herrera opens the book up to his hope for a better, kinder future, and graciously invites the reader into his vision of it."—Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed Books

"With his latest collection, Every Day We Get More Illegal, Herrera offers a kind of spiritual style guide for a time when solidarity itself is stymied by social distancing."—Roberto Ontiveros, The Austin Chronicle

"With hands firmly rooted in the soil, he reasserts the value of individual lives and stories, including his own. 'First I had to learn. Over decades—to take care of myself,' he writes. Sweeping yet precise, Every Day We Get More Illegal is an intimate and urgent call to collective action."—Poets & Writers Magazine

"The timely, urgent book from Herrera pays homage to the 'migrant children,' 'immigrant children,' those 'who died in custody,' and those 'separated on the road north,' highlighting societal issues while exploring the nuances of how silence operates within a larger political discourse. . . . Herrera's formal versatility lends subtlety and nuance to essential political considerations."—Publishers Weekly, *Starred Review*

"This latest collection from Herrera continues his legacy as poet, performer, and activist after his having served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017. . . . A timely and propulsive work; for all collections.—Karla Huston, Library Journal, *Starred Review*

"One of Herrera's great gifts is his ability to treat this continental divide simultaneously as a conceptual abstraction—'The Wall / it is more than an arbitrary stop or as it is called The Border it is / an arrangement of agreements of always-war'—while also humanizing its inhabitants: 'every human being in the village is an ever-opening story.'"Booklist

"Every Day We Get More Illegal (City Lights, 2020), the slender, ferocious, tender new volume by Herrera, the first Xicano poet laureate of the United States. . . . He doesn’t need violent winds to knock down the illusion of the border—he does this with the puffs of breath from all the people he conspires to give voice to in his songs."—"Reflections on Juan Felipe Herrera, my homeboy laureate," by Luis Alberto Urrea for the Poetry Foundation

"Juan Felipe Herrera breaks open language to convey unspeakable pain alongside unfathomable strength."—Emma Ramadan, co-owner, Riff Raff Bookstore, Providence, RI

"Few poets have more laurels upon which they could rest than Juan Felipe Herrera. As the former Poet Laureate of the United States he's done more for poetry, on the page and off, than most anyone living. But in his new Every Day We Get More Illegal, Herrera not only stretches, complicates, broadens his own oeuvre, he challenges and expands what might be possible in the space of a poem."—Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf

"A prolific voice for justice, Herrera continues to see the world with compassion, a goofy sort of humor, and a liberationist's roving kind of care. These are warm poems for hard times."—John Freeman, Lit Hub Executive Editor

"Juan Felipe Herrera upholds and elevates the great ancestral lineage of our Mexicano/Chicano/World/Word Masters. The Border lives in this man. The Border(s) will never leave him. He is the son of soul anarchy, the lost stories of my America. He is the trickster magician who lifts the mirror to our faces—and allows us to see truth. When he breaks stride in this great walkabout of his, he tumbles the false world down while always showing us the Better Way. These are poems fierce and compassionate. His Journey has served him well."—Denise Chávez, owner, Casa Camino Real Bookstore, Las Cruces NM

--This text refers to the paperback edition.

About the Author

Juan Felipe Herrera was the 21st U.S. Poet Laureate from 2015-2017, the first Latino to receive this honor. The son of migrant farm workers, he was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and received his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. His numerous poetry collections include Notes on the Assemblage (2015), 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007 (2007), Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (2008), and Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream (1999). Notes on the Assemblage was named a Best Book of the Year by The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Library Journal, NPR, and BuzzFeed. In addition to publishing more than a dozen collections of poetry, Herrera has written short stories, young adult novels, and children's literature.

In 2012, Herrera was named California’s poet laureate. He has won the Hungry Mind Award of Distinction, the Focal Award, two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, and a PEN West Poetry Award. In April 2016, Herrera received the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement from the Los Angeles Times. His other honors include the UC Berkeley Regent’s Fellowship as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Stanford Chicano Fellows. He has also received several grants from the California Arts Council.

Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. His creative work often crosses genres, including poetry, opera, and dance theater. His children’s book, The Upside Down Boy (2000), was adapted into a musical. His books for young people have won several awards, including Calling the Doves (2001), winner of the Ezra Jack Keats Award, and CrashBoomLove (1999), a novel-in-verse for young adults, which won the Americas Award. His poetry collectionHalf of the World in Light was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle prize in 2009. Herrera lives in Fresno, CA.

--This text refers to the paperback edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B088KV94CJ
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ City Lights Publishers (September 22, 2020)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ September 22, 2020
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 399 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 80 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN ‏ : ‎ 0872868281
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 36 ratings

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Juan Felipe Herrera was initiated into the Word by the fire-speakers of the early Chicano Movimiento and by heavy exposure to various poetry, jazz, and blues performance streams. He is the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California - Riverside. His published works include Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream, Mayan Drifter: Chicano Poet in the Lowlands of the Americas, and Thunderweavers / Tejedoras de Rayos.

Customer reviews

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4.7 out of 5
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5.0 out of 5 stars Herrera Brings Poetic Power to Migrant Marginalization
Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2020
Released over the summer of 2020, Everyday We Get More Illegal highlights social issues and the growing divide between American citizens. While this book speaks specifically to the plight of immigrants, and the current US policy, it also gives a voice to anyone who feels marginalized. “Everyday” provides pivotal insights. Herrera reminds us that words are a political tool and he uses his words powerfully, hopefully, and without softening the edges of harsh realities.

Herrera’s writing pedigree includes being named California's poet laureate in 2012, and the U.S. poet laureate in 2015. These accolades come in addition to numerous awards and previously published works. Everyday We Get More Illegal was highly anticipated and does not disappoint.
Whether painting a word-picture through dialogue with a young son separated from his deported father, or recognizing essential workers’ constant contributions through labor—Herrera’s language penetrates the reader’s psyche, not brutally, but respectfully asking for reflection, consideration and remembrance. Herrera chronicles a lesser seen America that it is time to see, feel and make tangible.
Many poems in “Everyday” contain the rhythm of a conversation. The book is organized into poems collected under the common term for migrants, fireflies. In this case, Fireflies on the Road North.
Like most exceptional poetry and prose, these works may perhaps land on the reader’s feelings, touching on direct experience and also, giving light to scenes often acted out in the darkness of forgetting.
Address for the Firefly #6 On the Road North:

here a river — you can stop you can bathe & rest
you can meditate on water & stones & the flow
you can note
the breath sound
of all our lives
–Juan Felipe Herrera, from Every Day We Get More Illegal
Used with permission, Copyright 2020 City Lights Books

Hear Juan Felipe Herrera read from Every Day We Get More Illegal at LitQuake 2020 <>

About the Reviewer
Pamela Biery is a freelance writer and public relations professional who lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Her poems appear from time to time in The California Poetry Society’s Quarterly. Her e-book, Yuba River Poems & Prose, is available on Amazon. Learn more at

“Writing provides reflection and definition for my experiences, it inevitably prods me on a bit further than I intended to go.”
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