Poems of Political and Social Consciousness
Like Martín Espada’s anthology of the same name, this evening of poetry readings and conversation gets its title from these lines from Roque Dalton’s poem “Like You” (Como Tú): “I believe the world is beautiful/and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.”
Dalton not only wrote many passionate poems about the political and social issues of his time, he was an active revolutionary who was assassinated. For him, to assert that everyone deserves bread is a political statement. We all know poverty and starvation have not vanished in the decades since Dalton’s murder, and that there are social and political systems in place that not only do not relieve this suffering but exacerbate it. Even today, to assert that bread is for everyone can be seen as a political statement.
And poetry? Is it a political statement to assert poetry is for everyone?
What happens to the idea of poems as sophisticated objets d’art if we begin to think of them as something as common as loaves of bread? If we assert they are for everyone, even the most disenfranchised? Can they speak to and for everyone? Can they offer strength and sustenance in difficult times?
Join us next Friday as Martín Espada and Patricia Smith, two of our most powerful readers and socially engaged poets, share their work and participate in a conversation and Q & A on poetry like bread.
Purchase $15 tickets here to join us next Friday, May 15th.