Poetry Like Bread (Old Edition)

Martin Espada, Editor
Martin Espada, Editor Curbstone Press $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-880684-15-3
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Paperback - 330 pages - 978-1-880684-74-0
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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.)
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