Celestial Hobo: Poetry for people who don’t usually read it. (Poetry-readers welcome, too! Teach us some stuff that we don’t know.)
This month's book club pick is Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez.
Citizen Illegal is a revealing portrait of life as a first generation immigrant, a celebration of Chicano joy, a shout against erasure, and a vibrant re-imagining of Mexican American life.
"Citizen Illegal is a fearless, instrumental, honest collection of poetry. In other words, the book is fire. Skilled, tender, funny, yet undecorated, Olivarez's poetry navigates the razor sharp duality and utter contradiction of citizenship. These poems helps us carry the weight of biases, the absurdity of our prejudices; they help us seek documentation for our humanity which cannot, by any means, be dictated by policy makers. Let it be said that these poems are also love poems. Olivarez chooses to use his voice, sometimes brutal, sometimes bloody and blistered, to confront our monstrosity, yet he never shies away from love, even when he exposes the lies we keep in order to live. Keep an eye out for José Olivarez: he might be the poet you need when it's time to cross a line, destruct borders, and still come out on the other side with your dreams intact."
--Willie Perdomo, The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon
José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants. He is a co-host of the podcast, The Poetry Gods. A winner of fellowships from Poets House, The Bronx Council On The Arts, The Poetry Foundation, and The Conversation Literary Festival, his work has been published in The BreakBeat Poets and elsewhere. He is the Marketing Manager at Young Chicago Authors.
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