Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Putting the Blood Back into Words

In "On 9/11 and the Politics of Language: An Interview with Martin Espada," Espada discusses his poem "Alabanza," written for the workers in the restaurant who died in the terrorist attacks, and also the politics of language around 9/11 more generally. One nugget:

What I want to do as a poet is to reconcile language with meaning, to bring them back together again. A phrase like enhanced interrogation or, for that matter, weapons of mass destruction removes the blood from words, drains the blood from words. Our job, whether we are poets, activists, or teachers, is to put the blood back into the words, so the words are once again vivid, alive and charged with meaning.


Maureen said...

Thank you for highlighting this very good interview. Espada says much that worth considering and much that is wonderfully quotable. It is clear how very conscious he is of the power of words. As he says, "...poets not onl find that words that remind us of history, but the history that is yet to come."

Philip Metres said...

Thanks, Maureen-- I like that--"the history that is yet to come."