Thursday, June 16, 2011

To be a poet is to be an advocate...

Wanted to share one last thing from the Harriet blog this week. This is also from back in April, and it's from Barbara Jane Reyes: a blog post titled, "Some Thoughts on Martín Espada’s The Lover of a Subversive is Also a Subversive." I'm just going to post my two favorite paragraphs from this essay, in which she is talking about a book by another of my favorite poets, Martin Espada. (By the way, isn't the title to that book awesome!?!):

To be a poet, Espada asserts throughout this series of essays, is to be an advocate, to advocate for those who have been silenced, and for places that are unspoken. I want to be clear on the difference between this advocacy, versus being a voice for the voiceless. Our work as poets can empower the silenced to speak. Our work as poets can be transformative such that we all prioritize resisting systems and institutions which engage in silencing others. Some examples of poets negating silence: Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass. Jack Agüeros, Sonnets from the Puerto Rican. Pablo Neruda, The Heights of Macchu Picchu. Diana García, When Living Was a Labor Camp.

The language of the official story, the master narrative, if you will, is not the truth of the people. The role of the poet is to write the truth of the people, to document, to tell the truth of the people; hence, Espada’s assertion in “Blessed Be the Truth-Tellers: In Praise of Jack Agüeros,” that “if Public Enemy is ‘the CNN of the ghetto,’ then Jack Agüeros is the PBS of the barrio.” In this essay, in addition to discussing the poetry’s necessary political themes, the telling of the people’s truths, Espada engages Agüeros’s use and manipulation of poetic form.

(Lines in bold, stressed by me: To read the entire piece, go HERE).

No comments:

Post a Comment