From Publishers Weekly
In his fourth book, Espada ( Rebellion Is the Circle of a Lover's Hands ) writes powerfully of the disenfranchised urban Latino poor: "I cannot evict them / from my insomniac nights." The poetry has a direct, proclamatory tone, at its best when summoning and sustaining intimacy. In "White Birch," for example, a birth is described: "The boy was snagged on that spiraling bone. / Medical fingers prodded your pink center / while you stared at a horizon of water / no one else could see, creatures leaping silver / with tails that slashed the air / like your agonized tongue." Brooklyn-born Espada draws on his tenants' rights work in Boston for strong images in several poems--"the girl surrounded by a pleading carousel / of children, in Spanish bewilderment, / sleepless and rat-vigilant, / who wins reluctant extermination / but loses the youngest, / lead paint retarded." Some poems cascade with strong visions and descend into squalor, horror, or the picaresque, yet forming wholes out of them can be problematic; they may grandstand at crucial points, or drift into pieties. On the other hand, "The Toolmaker Unemployed," an austere lyric supported by assonance and incremental ponderings, is as spare in its form as we imagine an old man's diminishing sense of worth to be.
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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“In City of Coughing and Dead Radiators
, his fourth book, Martín Espada defines political poetry for the turn of the century. . . . [This] is a book to be opened by those who know the consequences of poets speaking out, but also a book for a larger audience convinced that poetry is a source of survival.” (Ray Gonzalez - The Nation)