My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

December 19, 2023: Fall Semester Finds: Espada’s Poem in Ethnic American Lit

[For my annual Fall semester reflections series, I wanted to share some of the new texts and ideas I encountered this semester. I’d love to hear things you discovered or rediscovered this Fall in comments!]

As was the case with the subject of yesterday’s post, I first discovered the poems of Martín Espada through assigning them for a class, in this case my redesigned Ethnic American Literature course. Over the years since he’s become one of my favorite American poets, for all the reasons I traced in this post among others. But that doesn’t mean there still aren’t new works of his to discover (and I don’t just mean newly published ones, although he does continue to produce new work), and this semester in Ethnic Lit one such poem of Espada’s jumped out at me anew: “Heart of Hunger” (it doesn’t seem to be online in full any more, but is well worth seeking out!). As we talked about during those class discussions (and I hope this goes without saying, but every discovery I’m highlighting in this week’s series was due much more to our collective work than my own individual ideas), what makes “Heart” particularly striking is the way Espada moves back and forth between elaborate extended metaphors and painfully concrete imagery to create a truly multilayered poetic portrayal of the immigrant experience in America, past, present, and future. I’ve been thinking and writing about that experience for decades, and this powerful poem was still able to open up new lenses on it for me, and I believe for everyone in our class.

Next Fall find tomorrow,


PS. What do you think? Other Fall finds you’d share?

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