Marcelo Hernandez Castillo discusses Children of the Land: a Memoir 7pm 1-30-20

"You were not a ghost even though an entire country was scared of you. No one in this story was a ghost. This was not a story."

When Marcelo Hernandez Castillo was five years old and his family was preparing to cross the border between Mexico and the United States, he suffered temporary, stress-induced blindness. He quickly understood that he had to become "invisible" and not get caught and deported. He writes of hiding in plain sight and of paying extraordinarily careful attention for fear of being truly seen.

With beauty, grace, and honesty, Castillo recounts his and his family's encounters with a system that treats them as criminals for seeking safe, ordinary lives. Children of the Land distills the trauma of displacement, illuminates the human lives behind the headlines and serves as a stunning meditation on what it means to be a man and a citizen.

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is the author of Cenzontle, winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. prize (BOA editions 2018). He lives in Marysville, California where he teaches poetry to incarcerated youth and also teaches at the Ashland University Low-Res MFA program.