Everybody talks about the plight of illegal immigrants in the US, but who gives us their own voices, tells us of the daily lives, of these shadow workers? Estamos Aquí—We Are Here—a heart-stirring collection of poems written by migrant workers, speaks of joy and heartbreak in the direct voices of Mexican and Central American migrant farmworkers. Presented in both Spanish and English, these poems ultimately succeed in humanizing them, revealing them as our neighbors. In workshops after a day’s backbreaking, sunbaked labor at migrant camps in upstate New York sponsored by the GENESEO Migrant Center, and led by renowned Beat poet Janine Pommy Vega, here came poems of home, of crossing borders, of the joys and agonies of work. Until now, there’s really been no way to tap into the inner worlds of the Latino pickers of the produce that feeds the majority of our populace, while their small earnings return to their families back home. Now, with Estamos Aquí, we realize that we are in this together, a relationship to evolve, not a problem to solve.
The fourth book in the Bowery Books Poetry Series, Estamos Aquí is a must for those studying illegal immigrant farmworkers, interested in contemporary Spanish-English poetry translations, having an awareness of the relationship of outsider arts, arts education, and the political intricacies of US immigration policy.