Poetry News

PBS Finds Vital Magic in the Words of Poet Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

By Harriet Staff
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Cenzontle, cover

At PBS, Jennifer Hijazi writes about poet, essayist, translator, and immigration advocate Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, author of Cenzontle. Castillo's first poetry collection, Hijazi writes, "is both spare and lyrical, communicating the reality and emotions of the immigrant experience in the U.S., and it comes at a time of hardline immigration rhetoric and policy from the White House." From there: 

Texas and Arizona are planning to send hundreds of National Guard personnel to the southern border with Mexico, spurred by President Trump’s urging and vocal disapproval of more than 200 Central-American migrants who are traveling through Mexico to seek asylum from gang violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The president champions a tough stance on migrant apprehensions and deportations. “We’re throwing out by the hundreds,” he recently told a West Virginia roundtable on tax reform.

Meanwhile in U.S. immigration courts, the Justice Department will begin linking job performance with how quickly judges close immigration cases — efforts meant to speed up the deportation process and reduce case backlog, but which leave some worrying that the quotas will compromise individuals’ rights to a fair trial.

Castillo said the inspiration for his work came at a crossroads in his life: his transition from being undocumented to a protected student under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

In the collection, Castillo’s imagery and dream-like phrases allow him to speak of his immigration status in a way he hadn’t been able to before.

Read more at PBS

Originally Published: April 16th, 2018