Sunday, December 05, 2010

"The Republic of Poetry" by Martin Espada

In the republic of poetry
a train full of poets
rolls south in the rain
as plum trees rock
and horses kick the air,
and village bands
parade down the aisle
with trumpets, with bowler hats,
followed by the president
of the republic,
shaking every hand.

In the republic of poetry,
monks print verses about the night
on boxes of monastery chocolate,
kitchens in restaurants
use odes for recipes
from eel to artichoke,
and poets eat for free.

In the republic of poetry,
poets read to the baboons
at the zoo, and all the primates,
poets and baboons alike, scream for joy.
In the republic of poetry,
poets rent a helicopter
to bombard the national palace
with poems on bookmarks,
and everyone in the courtyard
rushes to grab a poem
fluttering from the sky,
blinded by weeping.

In the republic of poetry,
the guard at the airport
will not allow you to leave the country
until you declaim a poem for her
and she says Ah! Beautiful.


Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1957. He has published seventeen books in all as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. The Republic of Poetry, a collection of poems published by Norton in 2006, received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; his next collection, The Trouble Ball, is forthcoming from Norton in spring 2011. A collection of essays, The Lover of a Subversive is Also a Subversive, was just released by the University of Michigan. An earlier book of poems, Imagine the Angels of Bread (Norton, 1996), won an American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

1 comment:

Xochitl-Julisa said...

I love this poem. I recently read this collection. Thank you for posting.