Martín Espada Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Although Martín Espada (ehs-PAH-dah) is known primarily as a poet, he also has edited two collections, Poetry Like Bread: Poets of the Political Imagination from Curbstone Press (1994, 2000) and El Coro: A Chorus of Latino and Latina Poetry (1997); translated the poetry of Clemente Soto Vélez in The Blood That Keeps Singing: Selected Poems of Clemente Soto Vélez (1991; with Camilo Pérez-Bustillo); and published one collection of essays in Zapata’s Disciple: Essays (1998). A compact disc of his poetry was released in 2004 under the title Now the Dead Will Dance the Mambo.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Martín Espada has garnered many honors, including a Massachusetts Artists Foundation Fellowship (1984), a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Fellowship (1986 and 1992), the PEN/Revson Foundation Fellowship (1989) and Paterson Poetry Prize (1991) for Rebellion Is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands, the Lilly Teaching Fellowship (1994-1995), the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry (1994), and a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Grant (1996). Imagine the Angels of Bread received the American Book Award for poetry from the Before Columbus Foundation (1997) and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Zapata’s Disciple won the 1999 Independent Publisher Book Award in the category of creative nonfiction/memoir. He received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement in 2004 for Alabanza and in 2006 for The Republic of Poetry, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Campo, Rafael. “Why Poetry Matters.” Review of Zapata’s Disciple. The Progressive 63 (April, 1999): 43-44. Campo reviews Espada’s Zapata’s Disciple and praises the poet for his clarity of purpose and his clarity of vision.

Espada, Martín. “Give Politics a Human Face: An Interview with Lawyer-Poet-Professor Martín Espada.” Interview by Sarah Browning. Valley Advocate, November 18, 1993. Espada speaks to the importance of keeping poetry relevant to the everyday lives of people and states that anyone who wishes to become a writer should remember to stay involved in the world. Poetry can be political without falling into the trap of being no more than mere propaganda.

_______. “Jesús Colón’s Truth-Seeking Disciple: An Interview with Martín Espada.” Interview by José B. Gonzalez. Latino Studies 5 (2007): 123-128. An insightful examination of Espada’s writing process, including a discussion of his influences, his weaving of history into his poems, the importance of being a bilingual poet, and his imperative to reveal the truth in anything that he composes.

_______. “Poetry and the Burden of History: An Interview with Martín Espada.” Interview by Steven Ratiner. The Christian Science Monitor, March 6, 1991, pp. 16-17. Espada points out that a poet can also be...

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