Friday, January 31, 2014

Martín Espada Workshop & Reading in NYC Feb 8


Saturday, February 8:
POETS TAKE THE STAGE: Martín Espada and Lauren Schmidt

with Martín Espada

This is a generative workshop, rather than a workshop for the critique of poems. Participants will generate new work based on the distribution and discussion of poems by Walt Whitman, Pablo Neruda, Grace Paley, Roque Dalton, Marilyn Nelson and Claribel Alegría. Workshop participants will write on the spot, then share their work, reading aloud to the group (for thunderous applause only). Together we will speak for the rights the others are down upon, prophesy like Cassandra (but be listened to this time), catch sight of the promised land, and prove Dalton’s proposition that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.

Fee: $25, payable by cash or check (made out to Medicine Show) at the door
Reservations: or 212 262-4216.


Martín Espada will be reading from his newly-released collection, The Meaning of the Shovel (Smokestack Books, UK). This collection brings together, for the first time, all of Martín Espada’s poems about work. Espada has worked as a bouncer in a bar, a primate caretaker, a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, a gas station attendant and a tenant lawyer. As a poet, he acts as an advocate for the Latino community, particularly the immigrant working class, from farm workers sprayed with pesticides in the field to the kitchen staff who died in a restaurant atop the World Trade Center on 9/11. This is a book that explores the emotional and often invisible landscape of labor: the church janitor who quits in the middle of the night, the cab driver who wants to write a love poem to win back his estranged wife. The title poem, based on the poet’s experience digging latrines in Nicaragua, embraces the vision of revolutionary change.

Schmidt will be reading from her collections, Two Black Eyes and a Patch of Hair Missing (Main Street Rag) and Psalms from the Dining Room (Wipf and Stock). Jim Daniels says of Psalms, based on the poet’s experience working in a soup kitchen: “Lauren Schmidt lays down riffs like a fierce blues guitarist, one who knows the power of each carefully chosen note. These poems explode with tough
compassion. They sting a little bit—they make us flinch in recognition. Schmidt's sharply etched details tell the powerful stories of her characters' struggles to be seen, to be acknowledged as human. These poems remind us of how close we all are to each other, despite efforts at denial and distance, despite how violence can erode the human spirit. Her characters fight for dignity in the face of everything rigged to keep them down.”

Admission: $7

Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble
549 W. 52nd St
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10019

No comments: