Martin Espada, hailed as the “Pablo Neruda of North American authors,” and the “Latino poet of his generation,” will read from his work at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 7 in the Sanford Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library. He is a poet, essayist, translator, editor, and the author of several books. His work has been translated into 10 languages and one of his poetry collections was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. The reading will be followed by a reception in his honor at the Office of Intercultural Affairs at 6 p.m.
Alejandra Molina, director of Intercultural Affairs, sees his work as a bridge between cultures. “He makes evident the crucial link between Latinos and Latin American culture. For our students interested in contemporary American literature , Espada is an example of how Latino and Latina literature is quite a component of contemporary American literature.”
Fellow Brooklyn-native Gala Mukomolova ’09 is excited for the author’s visit. “Martin Espada is a very exciting, powerfully-spoken man,” says the English major.
“To Latino students, he speaks about the issues affecting them. But he also speaks to an older generation of people like myself who migrated here,” says Molina, a native of Guatemala. Espada was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1957 to migrant Puerto Rican parents.
Some of Espada’s titles include the poetry books,” A Mayan Astronomer in Hell’s Kitchen” (Norton, 2000) and “Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands” (Curbstone, 1990). He has edited two anthologies, “Poetry Like Bread: Poets of the Political Imagination from Curbstone Press,” and “El Coro: A Chorus of Latino and Latina Poetry,” and has a collection of essays, “Zapata’s Disciple.”
Espada has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Robert Creeley Award, the Antonia Pantoja Award, a Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, the Charity Randall Citation, the Paterson Poetry Prize, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and two NEA Fellowships. He recently received a 2006 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, Harper’s, The Nation, and The Best American Poetry. A former tenant lawyer, he is now a professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he teaches creative writing and the work of Pablo Neruda; he is also the Poet Laureate of Northampton, Mass.
His visit to campus is sponsored by the Spanish department, Office of Intercultural Affairs and Writers Reading. Espada was invited to campus by Assistant Professor of English Lauren Alleyne.