“A titan—unafraid to take to the road, get his hands dirty, to fully immerse himself in the world of his subjects.”
—Juan Felipe Herrera, 21st United States Poet Laureate, on Tim Z. Hernandez

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25 years of writing from one of our most gifted Latinx poets, taking the reader from his early exploration of machismo to new work on life as a single father, immigrant detention, and spiritual inquiry. Some of the Light: New & Selected gathers the first 25 years of Hernandez’s award-winning poetry, offering a glimpse at the trajectory of a rising contemplative American author.

At its core, Some of the Light contains collected poems of love, told through the lens of a single father raising two children alone in the borderlands. They are at times intimate and confessional, telescoping from personal relationships to spiritual inquiry, from human rights to the environment, while between the cracks of the poems are poetic contemplations, chronicling the passing days of the pandemic.

Some of the Light is a part of Beacon Press’s Raised Voices Poetry Series, established in 2021 to raise historically excluded voices and perspectives, and to celebrate  poetry’s ability to access truths in ways no other form can.

“Father of Clarity” was recently featured in The Atlantic on November 27, 2022. Click here to READ. 



Combining years of painstaking investigative research and masterful storytelling, award winning author, Tim Z. Hernandez weaves a captivating narrative from testimony, historical records, and eyewitness accounts, reconstructing the incident and the lives behind the legendary song. This singularly original account pushes narrative boundaries, while challenging perceptions of what it means to be an immigrant in America, but more importantly, it renders intimate portraits of the individual souls who, despite social status, race, or nationality, shared a common fate one frigid morning in January of 1948.

What’s Being Said About “All They Will Call You”:

“In his lyrics to “Plane Wreck At Los Gatos,” my father, Woody Guthrie, asked a simple question, ‘Who are these friends?’ and finally someone has answered that question. It was unknown if their stories would ever come to light, or if they would simply remain ghosts without names, as if they had no lives at all—as if they didn’t count. Through Hernandez’s amazing work, I now know who these people were, their lives, their loves, and their journeys. “All They Will Call You” is a heart wrenching read for anyone who cares, and the names–now etched in stone in a far off graveyard– have become friends who will travel with me as long as I am walking.” Arlo Guthrie, Musician

“There’s something miraculous about the storytelling feat Tim Z. Hernandez has pulled off in ‘All They Will Call You.’ With great compassion and patience, he has immersed himself in a long-forgotten episode of California history, and uncovered a multi-layered epic of love, injustice and family fortitude stretching across generations and borders. This is an intelligent, empathic and deeply moving work.”Hector Tobar, Author of Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free

“Tim Z. Hernandez is the real thing. This epic, tragic story is finally being told, and it is in the best possible hands.”Luis Alberto Urrea, Author of The Devil’s Highway

“An important and moving book, exploring the theme of identity and loss and disenfranchisement — topics that have never been more urgent than they are now. Hernandez has illuminated the present with this original and riveting examination of the past.” Susan Orlean, Author of The Orchid Thief

“Woody Guthrie must surely be smiling, wherever he is.  All They Will Call You completes the sad, yet compelling story outlined many years ago in his song “Deportees.” Thanks to Tim Hernandez, the souls of the migrant workers lost in that 1948 plane wreck can now rest peacefully.  Required reading for true Guthrie fans.”Robert Santelli, Grammy Museum Executive Director

“Told with a reporter’s eye and a poet’s voice, Tim Z. Hernandez makes us aware that by dismissing, or making nameless any group of human beings on the planet we are denying a fundamental sense of decency, compassion and respect to our own families, neighbors, friends and even ourselves. All They Will Call You is a great historical piece of work, completing the mission that Woody Guthrie embarked upon when he wrote his classic song long ago.”David Amram, Musician and author of Offbeat: Collaborations with Kerouac

“A scrupulous writer and researcher, Hernandez has changed the course of America’s musical history, as well as it’s immigration history.”Will Kaufman, Author of Woody Guthrie: American Radical
“This story holds great historical significance as we continue to define ourselves as a nation…Woody would be proud to know that his song played a part as a catalyst for this book, offering overdue closure to the lives of these workers.”Deana McCloud, Executive Director of the Woody Guthrie Center

“Hernandez’ loving detail and authentic knowledge of The Valley continues to plant him firmly in Steinbeck and Saroyan country while forging his own path. Part documentary part thriller Hernandez’ voice rings true nearly breathless with new information and a certain justice now rising like smoke from the wreckage in the canyons of his beloved and mysterious San Joaquin.” Richard Montoya, Actor/ Producer, Culture Clash

About “Mañana  Means Heaven”MMHBook Cover

“Hernandez combines his skills as a poet and some dogged research to imagine and re-create the couple’s (Bea Franco & Jack Kerouac) brief relationship with intimate and engrossing detail…a skillfully crafted novel that convincingly places us inside the California that was — and that makes us feel like voyeurs allowed a glimpse inside the inner workings of another novel that remains an American classic. What’s more, ‘Mañana Means Heaven’ gives a beautifully realized portrait of Bea Franco.”

—Los Angeles Times Review of Books

“A mesmeric tale born of Hernandez’s passionate curiosity. Based on extensive research and investigation, part fact, mostly fiction, and years in the making, this novel will thrill the millions of readers who have read Kerouac’s book and/or seen the movie adaptation. But no prior knowledge of Kerouac or his works is required: this is an entirely fascinating, stand-alone story in its own right.”—Booklist

“Hernandez’s portrayal offers a telling counterpoint to Kerouac’s rendering, reclaiming Franco’s agency and offering a depth and insight into her circumstances and the life of women like her who, both on the page and in everyday life, are too often consigned to anonymity.”—Zyzzyva

“Hernandez’s intimate knowledge of life amid the agricultural fields of central California and his ability to conjure the thoughts and emotions of the young Bea Franco make for a graceful and melancholy tale.”—Associated Press

“There is no other novel like this in American publishing…this unknown story of a key literary female figure is the kind no one notices until written about by a lyrical and poetic voice such as Tim Z. Hernandez, who knows this landscape so well.” – Susan Straight (Take One Candle Light a Room)

“Not since The Bridges of Madison County has a love story been more forbidden and compelling. Bea Franco and Jack Kerouac’s fifteen day tryst, dependent on tequila, compromise and hope, has been held captive, nearly forgotten, for over 60  years. Only now are we fortunate to have a writer as gifted as T.Z. Hernandez tell it with such corazon and poignancy.” – Michele Serros (How to be a Chicana Role Model)

“Mañana Means Heaven provides an important counter-narrative to the establishment of the ‘Beat Generation’ writers.” – Alex Espinoza (The Five Acts of Diego Leon)

“Tim Z. Hernandez’s groundbreaking book has shed light on the near-mythical Mexican Girl of Jack Kerouac’s 1957 novel, On the Road. The story of the real-life Mexican Girl, Bea Franco, Mañana Means Heaven, is by turns tender and rewarding, offering a dazzling offshoot from the oft-explored road story that is Kerouac’s.” – Paul Maher Jr. (Jack Kerouac’s American Journey)

About “Natural Takeover of Small Things”

“This collection is distinctive in its ability to utilize crisp imagery, lyric, musicality, and narrative to create a collection that flows smoothly and opens the reader to a new window in the Chicano experience.” – Matthew Shenoda (Seasons of Lotus, Seasons of Bone: Poems)

“A lyrical invocation of the San Joaquin Valley’s semi-arid landscape, with a loving and deft portrayal of those who grow up, toil, and die within its vast, flat expanses.” -Diana Garcia (When Living Was a Labor Camp)

“This splendid and memorable collection of poems will startle you with its sheer ability to depict both inner and outer worlds with artfulness and divine linguistic power.” -Major Jackson (Holding Company: Poems)


About “Culture of Flow” 

“Hernandez puts us in the flow of history, the poems read or spill into us like a chant or a drum beat that opens older ceremonies, cultures, and peoples flow into each other, the ancient pulse under the current of the industrial and modern age breathing fire, he brings the global barrios into one setting, the connections of the world are alive within him.” -Victor Hernandez Cruz (The Mountain in the Sea, Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets)

“In Culture of Flow, Tim Z. Hernandez seeks to know/ show what ‘Nature’ really means, and the ‘Proof is in the detritus.’ This book is rich in detritus, rich in variable space, rich in flow, like language, like the globe. Hernandez digs for the ideas, digs up the words, and immediately digs the opposite, and lets them dance. His sound and rhythm (rhythm of sound, rhythm of unsound) surpleases.” -Jack Collom (Exchanges of Earth & Sky, Eco-Poetics Professor at Naropa University)

Culture of Flow cuts through and exposes centuries of impacts upon the land and its people while chasing dynamics of water in a wild fluvial process of its own. With both power and unpredictability, his poetic line is like the San Joaquin River, that, in the end, will have the last word.” -John C. Doffelmyer (Proclaiming Space)

About “Skin Tax

“Tim Z. Hernandez is one of the finest and most exciting poets from the younger generation of latino writers!” -Ray Gonzalez, Bloomsbury Review

“I like Tim’s boldness, his willingness to be raw and trust the content of the poem to make it real and legitimate, his poems sizzle and spark with excitement, targeting with a relentless passion his desire to express what he is trying to convey.” –Jimmy Santiago Baca (A Place to Stand)

“…a masterpiece without precedent!” -Juan Felipe Herrera (Half of the World in Light, California Poet Laureate)

“It’s too reductionistic to call Tim Hernandez a performance poet…though his voice and rhythms surely benefit from the energy behind a microphone, the complexity of his ideas merit the slower pace study made possible through the written pages of Skin Tax.”
-Rigoberto Gonzalez (El Paso Times Book Review)

“Tim sidles up close, whispers in our ears the soft beauties of a moistened spirit, and he won’t give us the maintenance lie…there’s the danger of shun and shutter, there’s the risk of touching a burn.”
-Victor Martinez (Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida, National Book Award Winner)

About “Breathing, In Dust” 

Breathing, In Dust book cover

“As if from Indian kivas mythically bound to a familial, American land, we are now only beginning to see the latest generation of Chicano writers climb out, yet again, and stand. Here we watch one of the finest, Tim Z. Hernandez, who brings us back to our central valley of California, where so much food is grown for the country, where so little money is given to the people, where life as it was at the turn of this new century looks so much the same as it did in the start of the last.” —Dagoberto Gilb, (The Flowers)

“Reading Hernandez’s novel reminded me of T.S. Eliot’s image of “garlic and sapphires in the mud….in other words, Hernandez’s fiction debut brings to the reader a mix of beauty and depravity, love and disgust. His sensibility mediates for us in this thicket of poverty, amorality, lust, stupidity, fear and ironically, enlightenment. [Hernandez] is a deeply gifted prose writer who has learned to use the images and rhythms of poetry to the best possible advantage.” —Alan Cheuse, for National Public Radio’s, All Things Considered

“The language of the novel is lifted by rhythm, imagery and metaphor, Hernandez proves expert at using elements such as symbolic names and clever plot devices to emphasize his complex critique of religion, mythology, and consumer culture, though his greatest talent lies in weaving setting, theme and character…readers of Breathing, In Dust will thoroughly enjoy awakening to the artfully rendered world of the migrant farmer.” -Fiction Writers Review

“Following the steps of John Steinbeck, Hernandez embodies the spirit and soul of a master storyteller with the unique talent to soften the cruel realities of fate with beauty, compassion, and character.” –Michele Serros, (¡Scandalosa!)

“Breathing, In Dust reveals a world that is layered and complex and rich. Hernandez’s Catela—like Anderson’s Winesburg and Rulfo’s Comala—offers a glimpse into a tender and fragile landscape. He has given us a coming-of-age novel like no other, a purely original and courageous book penned by a writer of uncanny wisdom and heart.”
—Alex Espinoza, (Still Water Saints)


2 responses to “Books

  1. Pingback: Valentine’s Day Chez Moi – Evelyne Holingue

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