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BOOK REVIEW: 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border

Poet, teacher, author and Chicano activist Juan Felipe Herrera has collected some of his most provocative and autobiographical writing in this volume. These “undocuments” chronicle Herrera’s travels in the U.S. and Mexico, and his relentless search for the soul and story of a people.

Herrera’s poetry is shouted with an upraised fist at one moment, intoned with a somber brow the next. He has no illusions, but his best work is powered by a grand vision of the past and the future.

Some of the work is helped by a knowledge of Spanish, which I don’t possess. Even so, I had no trouble being caught up in the sound and spirit of Herrera’s writing.

We need more documentary poetry like this to capture the real history of this country, and of the peoples and cultures within it.

Highly recommended.

Published in Poetry Politics & Activism


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