Friday, September 25, 2015

Poetry Like Bread: A Poetry Workshop with Martín Espada

The Poetry Center at PCCC is proud to announce the addition of a new poetry workshop with Martín Espada. This is a generative workshop in which participants will generate new work based on the distribution and discussion of poems by Walt Whitman, Pablo Neruda, Grace Paley, Roque Dalton and Marilyn Nelson, among others.

Workshop participants will write on the spot, then share their work, reading aloud to the group (for thunderous applause only). As poets, our poems will speak for the rights the others are down upon, prophesy like Cassandra (but be listened to this time), catch sight of the promised land, and prove Dalton’s proposition that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, November 7 from 10am - noon at The Poetry Center at PCCC in Paterson. That afternoon will be a free and public reading celebrating the publication of the latest issue of the Paterson Literary Review.

As with our other Distinguished Poets workshops, you can sign up for the Espada workshop by calling the Poetry Center at 973-684-6555 and confirming your space and then sending a check for $20 to the Poetry Center noting the Espada workshop or download the registration form.

Martín Espada's Poetry Like Bread collects poems by nearly forty poets that 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.

Martín Espada - photo by Silvain
Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1957. He has published more than fifteen books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His latest collection of poems is called Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (2016). Other books of poems include The Trouble Ball (2011), The Republic of Poetry (2006), Alabanza (2003), A Mayan Astronomer in Hell’s Kitchen (2000), Imagine the Angels of Bread (1996), City of Coughing and Dead Radiators (1993) and Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands (1990). His many honors include the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, an American Book Award, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Republic of Poetry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The title poem of his collection Alabanza, about 9/11, has been widely anthologized and performed. His book of essays, Zapata’s Disciple (1998), was banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona. A graduate of Northeastern University Law School and a former tenant lawyer in Greater Boston’s Latino community, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.