Facts about Martín Espada
Martín Espada Biography
Poet Martín Espada won the National Book Award for Poetry for his 2021 collection, Floaters.
He published his first collection in 1982, The Immigrant Iceboy’s Bolero (with photos by his father, Frank Espada).
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northeastern Law School, Martín Espada was once a lawyer for low-income, Spanish-speaking immigrants outside of Boston, reflecting the social activism of his father, an immigrant from Puerto Rico.
Now a teacher at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Espada has published more than a dozen books of poetry, as well as collections of essays (including Zapata’s Disciples, which was banned in Tucson, Arizona for a time because it was part of a Mexican-American studies program).
Espada’s poems are political and driven by an urgency for social justice, but they are not without humor and are part of the poet-as-storyteller tradition.
He was won many awards and prizes, and his poem “Alabanza” has been anthologized many times.
Espada’s books include Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands (1990); City of Coughing and Dead Radiators (1993); Imagine the Angels of Bread (1996, American Book Award); Alabanza: New and Selected Poems, 1982-2002 (2003); The Republic of Poetry (2006); and Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (2016).