Critical Commentary

“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, American Book Award Winner)

“Even though Hernandez is a word master and performance genius, it is not his language, lyrics nor liquid action on stage that moves us; it is his soul naked and trembling…” Juan Felipe Herrera (Notebooks of a Chile Verde Smuggler)

“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. Namby-pamby poetry his is not, 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)

“Tim Hernandez' language is alive. It leaps from the page. It struts, it storms, it seduces!” Linda Watanabe McFerrin (The Hand of Buddha).

On Hernandez’s Breathing, In Dust 

“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,

author of The Magic of Blood and 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

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,

author of ¡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,

author of Still Water Saints