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Martin Espada Papers

Identifier: MA.00135

Scope and Contents

The Papers contain correspondence, poetry manuscripts and galley proofs, news clippings, contracts, posters, notebooks, photographs, video and audio recordings, and other materials documenting the literary career, personal life and social activism (1957-2006) of poet and University of Massachusetts Amherst professor Martín Espada. They also include manuscript drafts, background research material and reviews related to translations of Espada's poetry into Spanish and other languages, as well as translations by Espada himself of poetry in Spanish.


  • Creation: 1957-2006


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Espada Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes. This collection is housed in off-site storage and requires advance notice before use. Please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Espada papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Poet and educator Martín Espada was born in 1957 in Brooklyn, New York. He received his B.A. degree in history from the University of Wisconsin (1981) and a J.D. degree from Northeastern University School of Law (1985). He is currently (2003) a Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he teaches courses in creative writing, Latino poetry and the work of Pablo Neruda.

Espada has written extensively on the plight of Latinos in the United States and is an outspoken advocate for social justice in Latin America. Espada's father Frank Espada was a leader in the Puerto Rican community and in the U.S. civil rights movement. Martín Espada's published collections of poetry include: The Immigrant Iceboy's Bolero (1982), Trumpets from the Islands of their Eviction (1987), Rebellion Is the Circle of a Lover's Hands (1990; winner of the PEN/Revson Fellowship and the Paterson Poetry Prize), City of Coughing and Dead Radiators (1993), Imagine the Angels of Bread (1996; winner of the American Book Award), A Mayan Astronomer in Hell's Kitchen (2000) and Alabanza: New and Selected Poems, 1982-2002 (2003). A book of essays, Zapata's Disciple (1998), received an Independent Publisher Book Award. He is the editor of two anthologies: Poetry Like Bread: Poets of the Political Imagination from Curbstone Press (1994), and El Coro: A Chorus of Latino and Latina Poetry (1997), winner of a Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award. Other honors include a Massachusetts Artists' Foundation Fellowship, a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2001, he was named the first Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts.

Martín Espada married Katherine Gilbert in 1988. The couple has one son, Klemente Gilbert-Espada.


13.5 Linear feet (12 records storage boxes, 1 oversize flat box, 3 tape storage boxes)

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian


Poet, social activist, educator. Contains correspondence, poetry manuscripts and galley proofs, news clippings, contracts, posters, notebooks, photographs, video and audio recordings, and other materials documenting his literary career, personal life and social activism, 1957-2006. Includes translations of some of his poetry into other languages, especially Spanish.


This collection is organized into fourteen series:

  1. Series 1: Books, 1982-2006
  2. Series 2: Awards and Honors, 1983-2003
  3. Series 3: Events, 1985-2003
  4. Series 4: Translations, 1989-2003
  5. Series 5: International, 1998-2003
  6. Series 6: Correspondence, 1983-2003
  7. Series 7: Controversies, 1995-2003
  8. Series 8: Readings, Lectures, Workshops and Prose, 1982-2003
  9. Series 9: Miscellaneous Works by and About Espada, 1984-2003
  10. Series 10: Notebooks, 1986-2003
  11. Series 11: Personal Affairs, 1957-2003
  12. Series 12: Video Recordings, 1984-2003
  13. Series 13: Graphic Material, 1983-2003
  14. Series 14: Audio Recordings, 1982-2003

Related Materials

Books by Martín Espada are available in the Amherst College Library or in the Archives and Special Collections; see the online catalog for details.

Processing Information

The papers were acquired in October 2003. They were arranged and described by Mr. Espada over a period of several months in 2003.

Missing Title

Accession number:
2003 April-October
Processed by:
Martin Espada
Finding Aid:
2003 October
Prepared by:
Martin Espada
Peter A Nelson, Assistant Archivist
Edited by:
Daria D'Arienzo, Head of Archives and Special Collections
Listed by:
Martin Espada
Prepared for web:
2003 October
David Schaich '06, Student Encoding Asst.
Martin Espada and Peter Nelson
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Portions of finding aid described in Spanish.
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299