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Martín Espada

Martín Espada’s latest book of poems is Floaters (Norton, 2021), winner of the National Book Award and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Other collections of poems include Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (Norton, 2016), The Trouble Ball (Norton, 2011), and Alabanza (Norton, 2003). He has received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, a Letras Boricuas Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. (Photo: Lauren Marie Schmidt)


Look at This

Winter 2022 | Poetry

My father spoke: Look at this, he said to me. We were walking through
an alley from somewhere to somewhere else in Brooklyn. In front of us,
a man with white hair and a white beard reached into a dumpster,
plucked out a bag of potato chips, stuffed his arm up to the elbow
in the bag, let it flutter to the pavement at his feet, and shuffled ahead.

Big Bird Died for Your Sins

Winter 2022 | Poetry

Barry was six-foot-six, fifteen like me, floating layups and hook shots
over our heads through the hoop in my driveway. We called him Big Bird
for dwarfing us, for his slappy feet, for the mouth that hung in a grin at all

Love Song of the Disembodied Head in a Jar

Winter 2022 | Poetry

Like the pirates and revolutionaries of legend, heads spiked
atop the great bridge spanning the great city, I am now a head
without a body. Maybe the body ran away while I was sleeping,
slamming headless into walls and doors. Maybe my body flew
away, flapping arms, liberated until the zap of telephone wires.