Puerto Rican Americans (Multicultural America:)
Martín Espada (b. 1957) was born and reared in New York City and has worked as a public advocacy lawyer. He is the author of The Immigrant Iceboy's Bolero (1984), Trumpets from the Island of Their Eviction (1987), Rebellion Is the Circle of a Lover's Hands (1990), and The City of Sick and Coughing Radiators ( 1993). Espada has spoken of his poetry as documenting the lives of the forgotten and downtrodden, specifically (but not exclusively) his fellow Puerto Ricans. His poetry also serves as vindication of lives too often and too long lived in silence and suffering.
In his poem "Trumpets from the Island of Their Eviction" Espada establishes the sounds of trumpets from salsa music as counterpoint to the bullying police presence. A biblical resonance here is the trumpets that knocked down the walls of Jericho; maybe the salsa trumpets can knock down the walls of discrimination and neglect. Espada uses the word eviction pointedly, establishing a link between Puerto Ricans being evicted physically by landlords in the United States and spiritually from their island of origin by a colonizing U.S. government. The poem expresses particular outrage at the assumption that those who do not speak English must necessarily have something wrong with them.
Similar tales of individuals disregarded because of linguistic difference abound in multicultural...
(The entire section is 14579 words.)
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