Martín Espada Poems

Born in Brooklyn, Martín Espada Espada, the Puerto Rican-American poet, is not only an accomplished poet but also a passionate advocate for human rights. His background as a lawyer and educator has significantly influenced his work, imbuing it with a sense of urgency and social responsibility.

Martín Espada poems often explore themes of racial and economic inequality, historical events, and the struggles faced by marginalized communities. As the son of a Puerto Rican father and a Jewish mother, Espada’s own cultural identity has played a significant role in shaping the narratives and perspectives found in his poetry.

Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper

by Martín Espada

‘Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper’ contrasts two forms of labor and encourages the reader to consider the relationship between them.

Martín Espada is an American poet who was born in 1957. His poetry is well-known for exploring social justice issues and politics. So far in his career, he's published a dozen books of poetry. This poem is one of his best and best-known.

At sixteen, I worked after high school hours

at a printing plant

that manufactured legal pads: