The Trouble Ball

The Trouble Ball : Poems

4.43 (92 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this collection of poems, Martin Espada crosses the borderlands of epiphany and blasphemy: Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, in 1941, where his Puerto Rican father realizes, at the age of eleven, that dark-skinned players are not allowed on the field; the swimming pool for guards and their families at Villa Grimaldi, a center of interrogation, torture, and execution in Pinochet's Chile; the city park where the poet clumsily buries the ashes of a friend; the tomb of Frederick Douglass, now a place of pilgrimage. Espada also traces the footsteps of his own history, from his brawls in the schoolyard to his days selling encyclopedias door-to-door. He observes the tender gestures of worlds half in shadow, where an "illegal immigrant" gazes at the snapshots of her wedding to a stranger, or a high school wrestler helps to carry an evicted neighbor's couch back into her apartment. And he urges us to envision justice, to "bury what we call / the impossible, the unthinkable, the unimaginable, now and forever."
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Product details

  • Hardback | 66 pages
  • 165 x 216 x 15mm | 255g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 039308003X
  • 9780393080032
  • 1,922,090

Review quote

"Martin Espada is a resourceful urban seer, alternately humorous, tender, and impassioned, a warrior poet who raises 'dissidence' to a level of majestic art. The Trouble Ball delivers, with Espada's characteristic fire and dexterity, the eloquence, empathy, and probity that have made him an indispensable American poet. The stirring final poem, 'Litany at the Tomb of Frederick Douglass,' seems destined to become a contemporary classic." -- Cyrus Cassells "The Trouble Ball is large-hearted, profound, mournful; it will also make you laugh out loud and raise your spirit. Like Whitman, Espada is essential to understanding who we truly are as a people." -- David Mura
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About Martin Espada

Martin Espada has published more than twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator, including Vivas to Those Who Have Failed and Pulitzer finalist The Republic of Poetry. His many honors include the Ruth Lilly Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Born in Brooklyn, he now lives in western Massachusetts.
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Rating details

92 ratings
4.43 out of 5 stars
5 52% (48)
4 40% (37)
3 7% (6)
2 1% (1)
1 0% (0)
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