The Writing Life: Martin Espada
In this debut edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life, poet and activist Naomi Ayala interviews poet, translator, essayist and activist Martín Espada. The deaths of five good friends sparked Espada’s newest book, The Trouble Ball. “I had to find a way to grapple with the deaths of these dear people, but I didn’t want these to be the normal elegies,” Espada explains. “The angle was one of epiphany, some discovery by each one of these individuals, as they made their own path through the world,” he says. Once he started writing, “a second process kicked in, I began examining my life again, to tell stories of my own life.” Espada reads from the title poem, “The Trouble Ball,” about his father, a Puerto Rican immigrant, realizing that brown people weren’t allowed to play major league baseball in America in the 1940s. He also reads “Isabel’s Corrido,” based on a true story of his marriage to a friend’s immigrant sister so she could stay in the country.