Haymarket Books
Books for changing the world
Citizen Illegal
Citizen Illegal is a book composed in the space between Mexico & America. It is a celebration of Chicano joy, a shout against erasure, and a vibrant re-imagining of Mexican American life.
Following in the footsteps of Latinx and Chicago writers like Sandra Cisneros and Gwendolyn Brooks, José Olivarez’s first book of poems, Citizen Illegal, paints portraits of bad immigrant kids, families clinging to hope, the steel mills, and beyond. The poems attempt to create a home out of life in the in-between—what Gloria Anzaldua referred to as The Borderlands. Olivarez writes with alternating humor and force to consider with complexity issues of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and immigration with every day language that invites every reader to participate in his poems. Olivarez has a unique voice that makes him a poet to watch.