Friday, February 02, 2024

Eleven books about seasonal and migrant farmworkers in America

Miguel M. Morales grew up in Texas working as a migrant and seasonal farmworker. Selected as a finalist for the 2023-2026 Poet Laureate of Kansas, he is a two-time Lambda Literary Fellow and an alum of VONA/Voices and of the Macondo Writers Workshops. He co-edited the anthologies Pulse/Pulso: In Remembrance of Orlando and Fat & Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives. His work has been published in Duende Journal, Acentos Review, Green Mountains Review, Texas Poetry Review, Hawai’i Review, and World Literature Today, among other journals.

Emily Everett is managing editor of The Common. Her debut novel is forthcoming from Putnam Books, and her fiction has appeared in Electric Literature, Kenyon Review, and Best Small Fictions, among other journals.

Morales and Everett co-edited "a portfolio of writing and art from twenty-seven contributors with roots in the farmworker community,' which was published in print and online in The Common magazine.

At Electric Lit they tagged eleven books that showcase
the richness and range of the farmworker experience. The struggle of it—the physical and mental strain, the mistreatment and low pay and food insecurity—but also the beauty of it: the pride of quick, skilled hands, the radiance of an early morning sunrise in the fields, the fierce love and resiliency of a close-knit family.
One title on the list:
The Consequences by Manuel Muñoz

This story collection from Graywolf Press won the 2023 Joyce Carol Oates Prize. Before its author, Manuel Muñoz, was named a 2023 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, he spent time working in the fields, from second to sixth grade. Consequences is his third story collection, focused on Mexican and Mexican American farmworkers in California’s Central Valley in the 1980s. His rich, nuanced characters run the gamut—parents and children, women and men, gay and straight, U.S. citizens and undocumented immigrants—and show the full complexity of life in and out of the fields.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue