Martin Espada will present keynote address for Latino Heritage Month
By Ross Burlingame ’09
Internationally renowned poet Martin Espada will present the keynote address for Lafayette’s celebration of Latino Heritage Month 5 p.m. Sept. 28 in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104.
A reception and book signing will follow the lecture. Espada will also hold an informal brunch and discussion with students and faculty 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 29 in Gilbert’s Caf�.
A native of Brooklyn, Espada’s poetry deals with issues of social justice in the U.S. and Latin America and is heavily inspired by his Puerto Rican heritage and his work experiences which range from a bouncer to a tenant lawyer.
Espada has been described as “The Pablo Neruda of North American authors” and has garnered overwhelming attention and accolades. His numerous awards include The Robert Creeley Award, the Antonia Pantoja Award, an Independent Publisher Book Award, a Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, the PEN/Revson Fellowship, and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships.
In October of 2006, Espada’s eighth collection of poetry, The Republic of Poetry, was named as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. Referring to the work, Samuel Hazo writes: “Espada unites in these poems the fierce allegiances of Latin American poetry to freedom and glory with the democratic tradition of Whitman, and the result is a poetry of fire and passionate intelligence.”
His previous book, Alabanza: New and Selected Poems, 1982-2002 (2003), received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was named an American Library Association Notable Book of the Year. Imagine the Angels of Bread (1996) won an American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Espada serves as Poet Laureate of Northampton, Mass., and is professor of English at University of Massachusetts Amherst teaching subjects in creative writing, Latino poetry, and the works of Pablo Neruda. He received a J. D. from Northeastern University and a B.A. in history from University of Wisconsin-Madison.