Poetry Everywhere
"Here in a bar on the street of the saint..."

Martín Espada

En la calle San Sebastian

Born in Brooklyn in 1957, Martín Espada has been called by Sandra Cisneros "the Pablo Neruda of North American authors." A poet, editor, essayist, and translator, he has published more than 16 collections and has earned a reputation as a writer of passionate social and political conviction as well as intense lyricism. When asked about his reasons for writing, he responded, "Compulsion. It feels urgent. There are ghosts that tell me to write…I'm talking about the interplay of imagination and memory and ancestors, both literal and figurative." His inclusive vision of past and present is strongly at play in "En la calle San Sebastian," as is his intuitive use of rhythm and repetition. Edward Hirsch has written of Espada, "He stands up for what Whitman calls 'the rights of them the others are down upon' and writes a fiery, impure, earth-tinged, human-centered poetry." Formerly a tenant lawyer, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he teaches creative writing and the work of Pablo Neruda. This animation was created by Kwok Tung Shuen, and Espada reads.

To read this and other poems by Martín Espada, as well as biographical information about the poet, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.