Poetry Like Bread: Poets of the Political Imagination from Curbstone Press by Martin Espada, Curbstone Press |, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Poetry Like Bread: Poets of the Political Imagination from Curbstone Press

Poetry Like Bread: Poets of the Political Imagination from Curbstone Press

by Martin Espada, Curbstone Press
     
 

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Poetry Like Bread contains poems by nearly forty poets published by the Curbstone Press during the last twenty years. These poets are probably unlike any you have studied. Their engagement with everyday political and economic realities is as direct as a newspaper, their language as familiar as conversation. Their motto, taken from Roque Dalton for the title

Overview

Poetry Like Bread contains poems by nearly forty poets published by the Curbstone Press during the last twenty years. These poets are probably unlike any you have studied. Their engagement with everyday political and economic realities is as direct as a newspaper, their language as familiar as conversation. Their motto, taken from Roque Dalton for the title of the collection, is that "poetry, like bread, is for everyone."

These poems were not written to be studied. They were meant to be read. Or better yet, heard. Whole or in part. Alone or among friends and strangers. Reading and hearing them, you must respond and react. Some may inspire you, knock the wind out of you—make you indignant, sad, joyous, ashamed. Whether you drop this book, seek out others, join a social action group, write letters to your elected representatives, or write poems of your own, your reaction to the poems will be as political as the poems themselves.

Some of the subjects of these poems may be unfamiliar to you, or very familiar to you. Many relate stories from war-torn Central and South America, where U. S. policy has had a huge impact on people's lives. The rest are the voices of the voiceless here in the U.S: Latinos and African Americans, Vietnam veterans and Vietnamese, prison inmates, blue collar workers, migrant workers, women, the homeless. It's the poet's job to open up and validate these worlds to us. Our job, once roused, is to learn. To learn and to act.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Strength and integrity...unify these writers as they speak passionately onissues common to all countries."-Publishers Weekly

"The poems here are full of surprises, grand themes grounded in the painful and triumphant particulars of each poet's life."-The Nation

"These are poems not so much of witness and survival as of defiance and resistance."-The Progressive

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Espada, himself a teacher and poet, has gathered the works of 33 poets from the Americas and other continents, including Nicaraguan Ernesto Cardenal, Honduran Roberto Sosa, North American James Scully, Native American Jimmy Santiago Baca and El Salvadoran Roque Dalton, to show the breadth of the political verse published by Curbstone Press in the 19 years since its establishment. The editor employs a broad definition of ``political'' in mixing poems on war, poverty, racism, starvation and sex discrimination with love poems, portrayals of alcoholism and cries of loneliness. Styles range from the gravity of Cardenal, who calls Nicaragua ``a great tomb of martyrs,'' to the urgency of John Carey, who warns cautious poets that ``Someday / The men with / The guns and butter / Will see you from the street, / Tramp up the stairs / To your room, / Strangle you with the / Cord of your caution.'' Some of the poets forgo craft for the sake of rhetoric, rendering the quality of the collection's poems inconsistent, and the translations from Spanish tend toward clumsiness; Spanish speakers might go to the originals on facing pages for more evocative reading. Strength and integrity, however, unify these writers as they speak passionately on issues common to all countries. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Bilingual when necessary, this collection includes 33 contemporary poets, putting politically conscious North Americans alongside their Latin and Central American counterparts (with two exceptions: Haitian Paul Laraque and Scandinavian Marianne Larsen). Well-known writers, such as Claribel Alegria, Ernesto Cardenal, and Margaret Randall, are interspersed with those relatively obscure. Welcome newcomers include Alfonso Quijada Urias (ironically depicting North American mundanity in a Communist regime) and Vietnam vet Kevin Bowen. This compilation proves that U.S. poets might lack the urgency and need for metaphor of those in a repressive regime but are every bit as capable of making strong political statements. A few prominent North Americans (Adrienne Rich, June Jordan) are not included, but this is still an important, recommended volume. With an introduction by the editor.-- Rochelle Ratner, formerly Poetry Editor, ``Soho Weekly News,'' New York
Now in a newly expanded edition, Poetry Like Bread is a sampler of the best of the poetry published by the nonprofit arts organization, Curbstone Press, over the last twentyfive years. Under the ably editorship of Martin Espada, more than 100 poems are showcased in this memorable, wonderfully presented, bilingual (Spanish/English) anthology. It Was A Ragged Squadron (September, 1978): No one wanted to cross that burnt field./(Those silver ashes with a read spark or two/from the final embers.)/You went out first and your body looked dark/against the white./Hidden in the brush, we others waited/until you made it to the other side,/then followed you.//I remember it in slow motion:/the sloping terrain, slippery and hot,/your hand around your weapon,/the stench of fire./The sound the propellers made,/sporadic bursts of gunfire.//Your boots sank into the pliant earth/and you raised a whitish mist at every step./(Time must have slowed down for us.)//Dionisio, all the comrades watched you,/our hearts beating uselessly/beneath the full moon. Daisy Zamora (translated by Margaret Randall & Elinor Randall).

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781880684740
Publisher:
Northwestern University Press
Publication date:
09/28/2000
Edition description:
NEW & EXPANDED
Pages:
332
Sales rank:
1,048,023
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Martín Espada (born 1957) is a Latino poet, and professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he teaches poetry. Puerto Rico has frequently been featured as a theme in his poems.

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