A U.S. Poet Laureate in Conversation

In Every Day We Get More Illegal, a collection of poems written during and immediately after two years on the road as United States Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera reports […]


A U.S. Poet Laureate in Conversation

Authors:Juan Felipe Herrera, Campbell McGrath


In Every Day We Get More Illegal, a collection of poems written during and immediately after two years on the road as United States Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera reports back on his travels through contemporary America. Poems written in the heat of witness, and later, in quiet moments of reflection, coalesce into an urgent, trenchant, and yet hope-filled portrait. The struggle and pain of those pushed to the edges, the shootings and assaults and injustices of our streets, the lethal border game that separates and divides, and then: a shift of register, a leap for peace and a view onto the possibility of unity. Every Day We Get More Illegal is a jolt to the conscience – filled with the multiple powers of the many voices and many textures of every day in America.

Moderated by Campbell McGrath, Nouns & Verbs: New and Selected Poems.

Sponsored by:

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera was the 21st U.S. Poet Laureate from 2015-2017, the first Latino to receive this honor. The son of migrant farmworkers, he was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His numerous poetry collections include Every Day We Get More Illegal, just published by City Lights. In addition, Herrera has written short stories, young adult novels, and children’s literature. He recently retired from the Creative Writing Department at UC Riverside and lives in Fresno, California with his partner, the poet and performance artist, Margarita Robles.

Campbell McGrath

Campbell McGrath is the author of nine previous books. He has received numerous awards for his poetry, including a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has been published in publications such as New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, the Paris Review, the New Yorker, Poetry, and Ploughshares. His poetry is represented in dozens of anthologies. Deeply personal but also expansive in its imaginative scope, the collection Nouns & Verbs (Ecco) brings together thirty-five years of McGrath’s writing. He gives us startlingly inventive new poems while surveying his previous work—lyric poems, prose poems, and a personal epic, “An Odyssey of Appetite,” exploring America’s limitless material and spiritual hungers. Nothing is too large or small to remain untouched by McGrath’s voracious intellect and deep empathy as he investigates the enduring human experiences of love and loss. In a starred review, Booklist noted that “McGrath’s absorbing, amusing, and reflective traveling music entices us on the road yet again.”

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