September 11, 2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marti Hobbes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Two Dynamic Latino Poets to Read
at Smith College
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.-The Poetry Center
at Smith College will host dynamic Latino poets Martín
Espada and Richard Blanco at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2, in
Wright Hall Auditorium.
Martín Espada, the poet laureate of Northampton, is a
rare creature: a successfully political poet. His work is often
described as the poetry of advocacy-Espada speaks in the voices
of those whose words and acts are so often ignored. Critic John
Bradley called him "the true poet laureate of this nation."
Espada was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., by his Jewish mother
and Puerto Rican civil rights activist father, Frank, whom Espada
described as "the one-time leader of a million Puerto Ricans
in New York City."
After earning an undergraduate degree in history from the University
of Wisconsin and a law degree from Northeastern Law School in
1985, Espada worked as a tenants' rights lawyer in eastern Massachusetts
before moving to the western part of the state to teach poetry
at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
His six books of poetry have been widely honored. "Rebellion
Is the Circle of a Lover's Hands" won the PEN/Revson award
and the Paterson Poetry Prize in 1989, and "Imagine the
Angels of Bread" won the American Book Award in 1997. Yusef
Komunyakaa writes that "A Mayan Astronomer in Hell's Kitchen,"
published to rave reviews in 2000, "recalibrates history
till a scary clarity stares us in the eyes." Hailed as "'the'
Latino poet of his generation, Espada is also an essayist, translator
Richard Blanco's cultural heritage
and professional interests epitomize diversity. "Made in
Cuba, assembled in Spain and imported to the United States"
(his family left Cuba for Madrid while he was "in utero"
and immigrated to the United States after he was born), Blanco
is trained as an engineer and a poet-and he has also been known
to design furniture, play the bongos and take underwater photographs.
His first book, "City of a Hundred Fires," won the
University of Pittsburgh Agnes Starrett Prize in 1997 and has
garnered much praise for its lyricism and its vivid portrayal
of Cuban-American life. Poet Campbell McGrath has called it
"one of the most exciting first books of the decade."
Sandra Cisneros writes, "What a 'delicia' these poems are:
sad, tender and filled with longing. Like an old photograph,
a saint's statue worn away by the devout, a bolero on the radio
on a night full of rain. 'Me emocionan.' There is no other
way to say it. They emotion me."
Espada and Blanco's reading will be followed by a bookselling
and signing. For more information, call Cindy Furtek at (413)
585-4891 or Ellen Doré Watson at (413) 585-3368.