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The Republic of Poetryby Martin Espada
Synopses & Reviews
In his eighth collection of poems, Martin Espada celebrates the power of poetry itself. The Republic of Poetry is a place of odes and elegies, collective memory and hidden history, miraculous happenings and redemptive justice. Here poets return from the dead, visit in dreams, even rent a helicopter to drop poems on bookmarks.
"Espada's compact, forceful follow-up to his well-received new-and-selected, Alabanza (2004), describes, in its three parts, three versions of his 'republic.' The first is Chile, where the Massachusetts-based, Brooklyn-bred poet has recently traveled, and where poets past and present (Neruda among them) reacted to the atrocities of the Pinochet dictatorship, hoping their verse could 'make the soldiers/ vanish from the garden.' The second 'republic' unites the poets, from various lands, whom Espada has admired — the lately deceased Robert Creeley, the South African protest poet Dennis Brutus and all those who have used their verse to speak for social justice: 'I want to write,' Espada explains, 'a poem useful as a coat to a coughing man.' Finally, there is the American republic, heir to democratic ideals traduced or shattered (in Espada's view) by the current administration and its wars, though 'Sometimes a song drifts up/ through.../ machine guns and sobbing.' Espada (himself of Puerto Rican descent) remains one of the nation's best-known and most outspoken Latino poets." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The heart of this collection is a cycle of Chile poems by "the Pablo Neruda of North American authors" (Sandra Cisneros).
In his eighth collection of poems, Martin Espada celebrates the power of poetry itself. is a place of odes and elegies, collective memory and hidden history, miraculous happenings and redemptive justice. Here poets return from the dead, visit in dreams, even rent a helicopter to drop poems on bookmarks.
About the Author
Martín Espada is the winner of an American Book Award. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
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