Martín Espada


As a poet, essayist, translator, editor, and attorney, Martín Espada has dedicated much of his career to the pursuit of social justice, including fighting for human rights and reclaiming the historical record. His critically acclaimed collections of poetry celebrate—and lament—the working class experience. Whether narrating the struggles of immigrants as they adjust to life in the United States or chronicling the battles that Latin Americans have waged against their own repressive governments, Espada has given voice to otherness, powerlessness, and poverty in poetry that is at once moving and vivid. He is the author of more than a dozen collections of poetry and several books of essays, the translator of Puerto Rican poet Clemente Soto Vélez, and the editor of influential anthologies such as El Coro (1997) and Poetry Like Bread (1994). Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has also taught at the Stonecoast Low-Residency MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine, Holy Cross College, Emerson College, Wheelock College, Tufts University, and Suffolk University Law School. Source


The Republic of Poetry

For Chile


In the republic of poetry,
a train full of poets
rolls south in the rain
as plum trees rock
and horses kick the air,
and village bands
parade down the aisle
with trumpets, with bowler hats,
followed by the president
of the republic,
shaking every hand.


In the republic of poetry,
monks print verses about the night
on boxes of monastery chocolate,
kitchens in restaurants
use odes for recipes
from eel to artichoke,
and poets eat for free.


In the republic of poetry,
poets read to the baboons
at the zoo, and all the primates,
poets and baboons alike, scream for joy.


In the republic of poetry,
poets rent a helicopter
to bombard the national palace
with poems on bookmarks,
and everyone in the courtyard
rushes to grab a poem
fluttering from the sky,
blinded by weeping.


In the republic of poetry,
the guard at the airport
will not allow you to leave the country
until you declaim a poem for her
and she says Ah! Beautiful.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Ars Poetica

Poems of Place

Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


The repetition of similar vowel sounds that takes place in two or more words in proximity to each other within a line; usually refers to the repetition of internal vowel sounds in words that do not end the same.


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times