[A few years back, I shared a handful of my favorite American poems in a weeklong series. Before I go back to sharing poems for money—well, teaching them as part of my job, but you get the idea—I wanted to highlight another week’s worth of favorite poems and a couple reasons why I love each. Share your favorites in comments, please!]
Today favorite poem is Martín Espada’s “Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper” (1993).
I love “Perfection” because it lays bare (literally as well as figuratively) the hidden labor that constructs and sustains our society, especially at its highest and most seemingly rarefied levels. I love it because it’s not a political treatise about those realities but a visceral engagement with them, through the lens of a single speaker’s journey, identity, and evolving perspective on himself and his worlds. And I love it because I’ve heard Espada read it, and can say (as proudly as possible) that I share the same public university system with this immensely talented poet.
Last favorite tomorrow,
PS. Thoughts on this poem? Other favorites you’d share?
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