Every Day We Get More Illegal
Every Day We Get More Illegal

Review in the "Times Literary Supplement"
Feb 24, 2021

"Herrera's eagerly anticipated new collection, his first in five years, reaffirms his status as one of the elder guardians of literature in the US. Every Day We Get More Illegal is best read alongside Herrera’s Selected Poems, the PEN award-winning 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971–2007 (2007), which cemented his reputation before he was named US Poet Laureate in 2015."—André Naffis-Sahely, Times Literary Supplement

PopMatters -- Best Books of the Year
Dec 11, 2020

"Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera's Every Day We Get More Illegal, seems to foretell a diatribe vibe, but threaded throughout his verse is the musicality—the calming, invigorating melodies that remind us, ever so sweetly, if insistently: Latino lives are beloved. Of course, versified tirades would be understandable and even welcome in such a collection—after all, Latinos are invaluable members of US society who number 60 million in population, yet are ever-demonized politically, with a huge underclass that is often overlooked in the American economy, and vulnerable to abuse. But the fact that Herrera steers clear of outright anger in his verse is an inspiring testament to the indomitable spirit of many Latinos. It also reflects the poet's inimitable ability to transmute personal outrage into rousing literary songs."— Alison Ross

Buzzfeed: Best Books fo the Year
Dec 11, 2020
Books We Couldn't Put Down This Year
From 2015 to 2017, Juan Felipe Herrera was the United States Poet Laureate — the first Latino to be appointed — and throughout those two years, while traveling the country and reflecting upon the experience shortly after, he wrote about the lives and struggles of Latin American immigrants he encountered. Those poems became Every Day We Get More Illegal, which reads as both a condemnation of America's sins, and a plea for it to recognize them. In "You Just Don't Talk About It" — a powerful, emotional, and breathtaking litany of America's abuses against immigrants while benefiting from their labor — Herrera grabs your face and won't let you look away: "you don't care about the trans teens the taste of acid the taste of plutonium about the nugget of larva of decay in our milk and juice and you don't care about the pesticide skin of uncle Timoteo hauling Mendota cotton and melons on the hammer lane of 99," he writes. It's a perfect encapsulation of much of the collection, which is 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

Feature on PopMatters
Dec 1, 2020

"When I saw Juan Felipe Herrera perform his verse in Atlanta a few years back, I was struck by the musicality of his delivery. Herrera, the first Mexican-American Poet Laureate (2015-2017), has a jovial, Zen-like presence that simultaneously calms and invigorates. . .. "—Alison Ross

Review on the "Los Angeles Review of Books"
Nov 14, 2020

"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

Review on "Alta" by David Ulin
Nov 16, 2020

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

Former US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera in conversation with San Francisco's Poet Laureate Kim Shuck!
Nov 12, 2020

ICYMI — Former US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera in conversation with San Francisco's Poet Laureate Kim Shuck!

Talking old San Francisco, new San Francisco, poetry, of course, and more.
Event hosted by Copperfield's Books, Nor Cal.

Review on "Jacket 2"
Sep 10, 2020

"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

Interview at "On the Seawall"
Nov 3, 2020

"This thing about the migrant at the border, it's such an old story, such an old apparatus. . . . These are all payback poems. I enjoyed getting back at that thing. I decided to have an interview with a border machine. A chat with the border itself. Instead of coming up with some elaborate poem about getting around it that has all these spirals and lines that are attempting to present the experience, I'm just going to have an interview."—Juan Felipe Herrera

Review on "The Rumpus"
Oct 30, 2020

"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

Excerpts on "Literal"
Oct 21, 2020

"Open" and "You Just Don't Talk About It" featured on Literal.

Celebrating the publication of Juan Felipe Herrera's new book "Every Day We Get More Illegal" with Jericho Brown and Litquake!
Oct 10, 2020

Want your spirits raised? Watch!

Buzzfeed Books Recommends . . .
Oct 5, 2020
" . . .  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

Event sponsored by The Word for Diversity and Duende District
Oct 3, 2020

Juan Felipe Herrera in conversation with Vanessa Villareal!

NPR Weekend Edition
Sep 27, 2020

"Juan Felipe Herrera Paints Portrait Of America In New Poetry Collection"

Appearance at the National Book Festival, Washington DC
Sep 26, 2020

Juan Felipe Herrera was the 21st United States Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017 and the first Hispanic poet to serve in the position. His newest poetry collection, which is launching at this festival, is Every Day We Get More Illegal (City Lights). He reads from it here in the poem "Color Tense (a fracture of power and paradigm)."

Review in the "Austin Chronicle"
Sep 25, 2020
"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. . . . Every Day We Get More Illegal brackets its inspiration from figures of tenacious heroism such as Anne Frank and Nelson Mandela, lining their legacies with the blunt observation that: 'art is not enough/performance is not enough/something is missing don't push it to fill the vacuum.'"—Roberto Ontiveros

PEN America Q&A"With the poem, I can design a little corner for my families that have passed to live on, and for those brutalized by society to continue and be honored—to generate kindness."—Juan Felipe Herrera, The PEN 10 Interview
Sep 24, 2020
"With the poem, I can design a little corner for my families that have passed to live on, and for those brutalized by society to continue and be honored—to generate kindness."—Juan Felipe Herrera, The PEN 10 Interview

The Regulator Bookshop, Durham, NC Weekly Newsletter
Sep 24, 2020

Includes Juan Felipe Herrera's Every Day We Get More Illegal in their weekly newsletter's "Small Press Gems."

10 Questions with Poets & Writers
Sep 22, 2020

"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."

An excerpt on "LitHub"
Sep 22, 2020

"America We Talk About It"

— every day of the week. It is not easy. First I had to learn. Over
decades — to take care of myself. Are you listening. I had to
learn. I had to gain, pebble by pebble, seashell by seashell, the
courage to listen to my self. My true inner self. For that I had to
push you aside. It was not easy I had pushed aside my mother
my father my self in that artificial stairway of becoming you to
be inside of you — after years I realized perhaps too late there
was no way I could bring them back I could not rewind the
clock. But I did — I could do one thing. I could care. Now we
— are here.

Publishers Weekly -- *Starred Review
Sep 21, 2020

Every Day We Get More Illegal

The timely, urgent book from Herrera (Notes on the Assemblage) 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. A variety of forms ranging from prose poems to lyric fragments work in service of social justice, as Herrera questions the willful refusal to listen to those ostracized by a dominant culture. In “Border Fever 105.7 degrees,” he writes: “why do you cry/ those are not screams you hear across this cage/ it is a symphony—the border guard says.” Herrera's use of white space within the poetic line evokes the fragmentation of the individual voice within this “symphony” of injustice and suffering. Elsewhere, the importance of paying witness through writing becomes evident: “Leap/ every human being in the village is an ever-opening story/ yes you must write about each one—it is the bravest gesture/ you must.” Herrera’s formal versatility lends subtlety and nuance to essential political considerations. (Sept.)

Poetry Daily features Juan Felipe Herrrera
Sep 16, 2020

Poetry Daily publishes "Touch the Earth (Once Again)" from Juan Felipe Herrera's new book Every Day We Get More Illegal.

Luis Alberto Urrea on Juan Felipe Herrera, Poetry Foundation web site
Sep 14, 2020

"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."

"He’s a warrior troubadour; he knows the territory. He’s got the lyric down. But the homie also knows car horns and laughter and accordion music and weeping. He is not afraid to scream like James Brown, whisper like Ko Un, rage at the abuser and comfort the afflicted."


Juan Felipe Herrera's "breathe we" on poets.org
Sep 14, 2020

"I had been wanting to write a poem dedicated to George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery for a while. After a few drafts, the poems felt forced. This piece was the last attempt. Gwendolyn Brooks came to the rescue—her hammering 'we,' and her complex simplicity. And a barely visible tint of Ginsberg."
Juan Felipe Herrera

Be sure to listen to Herrera's reading of the poem. Click on the amplifier.

An excerpt in "The New Yorker"
Sep 7, 2020
Poem "Basho & Mandela" excerpted from Every Day We Get More Illegal 
Includes a reading of the poem by Juan Felipe Herrera

Starred Review in Library Journal
Sep 1, 2020
This latest collection from Herrera (Notes on the Assemblage) continues his legacy as poet, performer, and activist after his having served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017. With the title echoing Lucille Clifton's poem "won’t you celebrate with me"—“everyday/ something has tried to kill me/ and has failed”—these poems embody his travels and bear witness to what he has since experienced, carrying even more meaning in light of today’s political climate and social unrest. Many of the poems here read like chants, almost like a Greek chorus, offering a litany of wrongs and rights and prayers for unity. Herrera makes liberal use of anaphora as well as lists, with or without punctuation, all of which propel the poems into a kind of purposeful music. “We will chant our many births/ about the abyss and the aurora/ about the sacred dizziness as we broke/ through all the cries of wars and redemption of being/ —this blurred world,” proclaims the poet. Yet even in these turbulent times he finds hope: “somewhere in there/ there is change—Change-speakers/ Change-churners even in the tiniest things/ —a falling leaf.”
VERDICT A timely and propulsive work; for all collections.
Reviewed by Karla Huston, Appleton, WI, Sep 01, 2020

An excerpt in "The New York Times Magazine"
Aug 10, 2020
Poem "i want to speak of unity" excerpted from Every Day We Get More Illegal 
"Juan Felipe Herrera's magnificent new poems in Every Day We Get More Illegal testify to the deepest parts of the American dream—the streets and parking lots, the stores and restaurants and futures that belong to all—from the times when hope was bright, more like an intimate song than any anthem stirring the blood."—Naomi Shihab Nye

Review in "Booklist"
Aug 1, 2020
"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.'"

One of LitHub's Most Anticipated Books of 2020!!
Jan 14, 2020

"Syncopated by a series of song-like addresses to a firefly on a road north, this dexterous and luminous new book by former US Poet Laureate is part Basho, part protest poem. Herrera's roving eye captures all, from moments of ephemeral calm, to the way workers work—Herrera, the son of migrant farm workers, laments how hard it has been for high culture to even regard people like them. The migrants who travel in shadows. Here as in other books, Herrera has stripped punctuation from many of the poems, leaving them to blow as if a holy wind moves through them. 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

Chosen for Publishers Weekly's TOP 10 Poetry of 2020
Dec 6, 2019

Former U.S. poet laureate Herrera recounts his two years on the road traveling through America, offering a portrait of struggle and violence, but also one of hope and resolution.