"This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender." —Jan Beatty

Posts tagged ‘Martín Espada’

Happy National Poetry Month! The Meaning of the Shovel, Martin Espada

The Meaning of the Shovel
BY MARTÍN ESPADA
—Barrio René Cisneros
Managua, Nicaragua, June-July 1982
This was the dictator’s land
before the revolution.
Now the dictator is exiled to necropolis,
his army brooding in camps on the border,
and the congregation of the landless
stipples the earth with a thousand shacks,
every weatherbeaten carpenter
planting a fistful of nails.
Here I dig latrines. I dig because last week
I saw a funeral in the streets of Managua,
the coffin swaddled in a red and black flag,
hoisted by a procession so silent
that even their feet seemed
to leave no sound on the gravel.
He was eighteen, with the border patrol,
when a sharpshooter from the dictator’s army
took aim at the back of his head.
I dig because yesterday
I saw four walls of photographs:
the faces of volunteers
in high school uniforms
who taught campesinos to read,
bringing an alphabet
sandwiched in notebooks
to places where the mist never rises
from the trees. All dead,
by malaria or the greedy river
or the dictator’s army
swarming the illiterate villages
like a sky full of corn-plundering birds.
I dig because today, in this barrio
without plumbing, I saw a woman
wearing a yellow dress
climb into a barrel of water
to wash herself and the dress
at the same time,
her cupped hands spilling.
I dig because today I stopped digging
to drink an orange soda. In a country
with no glass, the boy kept the treasured bottle
and poured the liquid into a plastic bag
full of ice, then poked a hole with a straw.
I dig because today my shovel
struck a clay bowl centuries old,
the art of ancient fingers
moist with this same earth,
perfect but for one crack in the lip.
I dig because I have hauled garbage
and pumped gas and cut paper
and sold encyclopedias door to door.
I dig, digging until the passport
in my back pocket saturates with dirt,
because here I work for nothing
and for everything.
martin-espada
Check out Martin Espada’s website for more beautiful poems! http://www.martinespada.net/

Monday Must Read! Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice

Planning to use this in my Intro to Poetry class this spring.

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resistancePoetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice
Edited by Francisco X. AlarcónOdilia Galván Rodríguez
University of Arizona Press 2016

On April 20, 2010, nine Latino students chained themselves to the main doors of the Arizona State Capitol in an act of civil disobedience to protest Arizona’s SB 1070. Moved by the students’ actions, that same day Francisco X. Alarcón responded by writing a poem in Spanish and English titled “Para Los Nueve del Capitolio/ For the Capitol Nine,” which he dedicated to the students. The students replied to the poem with a collective online message. To share with the world what was taking place, Alarcón then created a Facebook page called “Poets Responding to SB 1070” and posted the poem, launching a powerful and dynamic forum for social justice.

Since then, more than three thousand original contributions by poets and artists from around the globe have been posted to the page. Poetry of Resistance offers a selection of these works, addressing a wide variety of themes, including racial profiling, xenophobia, cultural misunderstanding, violence against refugees, shared identity, and much more. Contributors include distinguished poets such as Francisco Aragón, Devreaux Baker, Sarah Browning, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Susan Deer Cloud, Sharon Dubiago, Martín Espada, Genny Lim, Pam Uschuk, and Alma Luz Villanueva.

Bringing together more than eighty writers, the anthology powerfully articulates the need for change and the primacy of basic human rights. Each poem shows the heartfelt dedication these writers and artists have to justice in a world that has become larger than borders. Poetry of Resistance is a poetic call for tolerance, reflection, reconciliation, and healing.

Praise for Poetry of Resistance

Poetry of Resistance is a timely response (via verse) to the current political climate of Arizona, though what the book ultimately argues is that these injustices have always been taking place—SB 1070 is simply its most recent manifestation. —Rigoberto González, author of Our Lady of

Alarcón and co-editor the eco-poet and activist Odilia Galván Rodríguez selected the strongest work from the hundreds of entries to shape this anthology whose communal message—a plea for social change—will remain timeless and resonant.–NBC News

Buy Poetry of Resistance here!

http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/Books/bid2590.htm

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