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Alabanza: New and Selected Poems 1982-2002


"An astonishing collection of political poetry at its finest."—The Progressive, Favorite Books of 2004Alabanza is a twenty-year collection charting the emergence of Martín Espada as the preeminent Latino lyric voice of his generation. "Alabanza" means "praise" in Spanish, and Espada praises the people Whitman called "them the others are down upon": the African slaves who brought their music to Puerto Rico; a prison inmate provoking brawls so he could write poetry in solitary confinement; a janitor and his solitary strike; Espada's own father, who ...
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"An astonishing collection of political poetry at its finest."—The Progressive, Favorite Books of 2004Alabanza is a twenty-year collection charting the emergence of Martín Espada as the preeminent Latino lyric voice of his generation. "Alabanza" means "praise" in Spanish, and Espada praises the people Whitman called "them the others are down upon": the African slaves who brought their music to Puerto Rico; a prison inmate provoking brawls so he could write poetry in solitary confinement; a janitor and his solitary strike; Espada's own father, who was jailed in Mississippi for refusing to go to the back of the bus. The poet bears witness to death and rebirth at the ruins of a famine village in Ireland, a town plaza in México welcoming a march of Zapatista rebels, and the courtroom where he worked as a tenant lawyer. The title poem pays homage to the immigrant food-service workers who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center. From the earliest out-of-print work to the seventeen new poems included here, Espada celebrates the American political imagination and the resilience of human dignity. Alabanza is the epic vision of a writer who, in the words of Russell Banks, "is one of the handful of American poets who are forging a new American language, one that tells the unwritten history of the continent, speaks truth to power, and sings songs of selves we can no longer silence." An American Library Association Notable Book of 2003 and a 2003 New York Public Library Book to Remember.
"To read this work is to be struck breathless, and surely, to come away changed."—Barbara Kingsolver "Martín Espada is the Pablo Neruda of North American authors. If it was up to me, I'd select him as the Poet Laureate of the United States."—Sandra Cisneros "With these new and selected poems, you can grasp how powerful a poet Espada is—his range, his compassion, his astonishing images, his sense of history, his knowledge of the lives on the underbelly of cities, his bright anger, his tenderness, his humor. "—Marge Piercy "Espada's poems are not just clarion calls to the heart and conscience, but also wonderfully crafted gems."—Julia Alvarez "A passionate, readable poetry that makes [Espada] arguably the most important 'minority' U.S. poet since Langston Hughes."—Booklist "Neruda is dead, but if Alabanza is any clue, his ghost lives through a poet named Martín Espada."—San Francisco Chronicle
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
The Spanish title of Martín Espada's new book means ''praise,'' and indeed the tone of his uncompromising political poetry is often distinctively expansive and humanistic. Drawing from six previous collections with titles that sound like wry magic realist novels -- from The Immigrant Iceboy's Bolero (1982) to A Mayan Astronomer in Hell's Kitchen (2000) -- Alabanza assembles a poetry of witness for Latin Americans suffering from everyday and endemic injustices (though Native Americans and even Irish potato famine victims also get their due). — Megan Harlan
Publishers Weekly
The number of titles published during National Poetry Month strained this column's space, but the following titles can just as easily help celebrate the solstice. The title poem of Mart n Espada's Alabanza: New And Selected Poems 1982- 2002, is one of nearly 20 new pieces in this summation of 20 years of work. The poem is subtitled "In Praise of Local 100," for the 43 members of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union killed when Windows on the World was destroyed, and it closes the book: "Alabanza I say, even if God has no face." "Alabanza" means "Praise." Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Leading poet Espada offers choice older poems, plus 30 pages of new works, that perfectly showcase his tough, ironic style. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393326215
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 965,987
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Martín Espada's The Republic of Poetry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, teaches at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
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Table of Contents

Mrs. Baez Serves Coffee on the Third Floor
Tato Hates the New York Yankees
Heart of Hunger
Jim's Blind Blues
Trumpets from the Islands of Their Eviction
Toque de queda: Curfew in Lawrence
El senor esta muerto
From an Island You Cannot Name
Mariano Explains Yanqui Colonialism to Judge Collings
Again the Mercenaries: Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, 4th of July 1982
La tormenta
The Right Hand of a Mexican Farmworker in Somerset County, Maryland
Leo Blue's and the Tiger Rose
Watch Me Swing
The Moon Shatters on Alabama Avenue
La tumba de Buenaventura Roig
Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover's Hands (Pellin and Nina)
The Savior is Abducted in Puerto Rico
The New Bathroom Policy at English High School
Portrait of a Real Hijo de Puta
Cheo Saw an Angel on Division Street
Latin Night at the Pawnshop
Two Mexicanos Lynched in Santa Cruz, California, May 3, 1877
Revolutionary Spanish Lesson
The Intelligence of Scavengers
After the Flood in Chinandega
The Saint Vincent de Paul Food Pantry Stomp
Federico's Ghost
The Florida Citrus Growers Association Responds to a Proposed Law Requiring Handwashing Facilities in the Fields
Jorge the Church Janitor Finally Quits
The Hidalgo's Hat and a Hawk's Bell of Gold
The Lover of a Subversive is Also a Subversive
Coca-Cola and Coco Frio
Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper
City of Coughing and Dead Radiators
Courthouse Graffiti for Two Voices
Mi Vida: Wings of Fright
The Broken Window of Rosa Ramos
The Legal Aid Lawyer Has an Epiphany
DSS Dream
White Birch
The Other Alamo
The Skull Beneath the Skin of the Mango
When Songs Become Water
Imagine the Angels of Bread
The Owl and the Lightning
Cada puerco tiene su sabado
The Pinata Painted with a Face Like Mine
Do Not Put Dead Monkeys in the Freezer
The Bouncer's Confession
Soliloquy at Gunpoint
My Cockroach Lover
The Meaning of the Shovel
Thieves of Light
Offerings to an Ulcerated God
My Native Costume
Her Toolbox
When the Leather is a Whip
Because Clemente Means Merciful
The Prisoners of Saint Lawrence
All the People Who are Now Red Trees
Sleeping on the Bus
The Fugitive Poets of Fenway Park
Hands Without Irons Become Dragonflies
My Name is Espada
The Shiny Aluminum of God
My Father as a Guitar
For the Jim Crow Mexican Restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Where My Cousin Esteban was Forbidden to Wait Tables Because He Wears Dreadlocks
A Mayan Astronomer in Hell's Kitchen
The Community College Revises its Curriculum in Response to Changing Demographics
The Death of Carmen Miranda
Genuflection in Right Field
Prisoner AM-8335 and His Library of Lions
Companero Poet and the Surveillance of Sheep
I Apologize for Giving You Poison Ivy by Smacking You in the Eye with the Crayfish at the End of My Fishing Line
The River Will Not Testify
En la calle San Sebastian
Now the Dead Will Dance the Mambo
Offering of Stones
Sheep Haiku
Circle Your Name
Searching for La Revolucion in the Streets of Tijuana
Sing Zapatista
Parole Hearing
How I Became the Rare Iguana Delicatissima of the Caribbean
The Monsters at the Edge of the World
Inheritance of Waterfalls and Sharks
The Poet in the Box
The Matchbook-Poet and his Scintilla of Fire
Ghazal for Open Hands
Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100
Biographical Note
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