Imagine The Angels Of Bread By Martin Espada.

The Diverse Reader Imagine The Angels Of Bread By Martin Espada Book Review

Title: Imagine The Angels Of Bread

Author: Martin Espada

Genre: Poetry

Published: November 17, 1997

Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company

Total Pages: 107 pages

Topics Include: Political, Racism, Justice, Autobiography

Amazon Synopsis: Combining the personal with the political in his fifth collection, Martín Espada celebrates the bread of the imagination, the bread of the table, and the bread of justice. The heart of the collection is a series of autobiographical poems recalling family, school, neighborhood, and work experiences-from bouncer to tenant lawyer. There are moments of revelation and political transcendence here, which culminate in an elegy for the Puerto Rican poet Clemente Soto Velez, imprisoned for his advocacy of independence for Puerto Rico.

The Latinx-A-Thon book challenge started on September 22, 2018 and I decided to grab this book to read for a new style of poetry than I usually read. I was not familiar with Martin Espada before reading this book but it makes me curious to know more about him the future. The poetry is thought provoking, political and different from the poetry that I have read before.

My favorite poem: My Native Costume

When you come to visit,

said a teacher

from the suburban school,

don’t forget to wear

your native costume.

But I’m a lawyer,

I said.

My native costume

is a pinstriped suit.

You know, the teacher said,

a Puerto Rican costume.

Like a guayabera?

The shirt? I said.

But it’s February.

The children want to see

a native costume,

the teacher said.

So I went

to the suburban school,

embroidered guayabera

short sleeved shirt

over a turtleneck,

and said, Look kids,

cultural adaption.

My thoughts:

When I first came across this poetry book I was intrigued about the political poetry theme and the idea of having a bread of justice, imagination, and table. The poetry was very lengthy but made you think in every poem that is included in this fifth collection of poetry by Espada. Some of the poems I did not connect to because the poems did not grab me as a reader. But, most of the poems I really enjoyed because they spoke about what everyday people go through and the issues that people go through of certain ethnicities. The poetry was honest and conversational especially the ones where he spoke about his job experiences, his family, and racial injustice encounters.

The poetry was strong and not the typical poetry because of the context, language and tone. The author is talking about serious topics in his poetry but yet able to connect to the reader in a relatable manner. Some of the poetry I had to read more than once because it was just that strong and complex. I had to really dig deep to understand what the author was trying to say in certain poems. The poetry seemed older and mean’t to be taken serious. Overall, the poetry is something that I feel like someone can learn from if examined with the mindset of political poetry.

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