Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Writer’s Center Kicks Off 35th Anniversary Reading Series with “The Latino Poet of His Generation”

Martín Espada, an internationally-acclaimed poet with local roots, will also lead a one-day poetry workshop: Barbaric Yawp.

The Writer’s Center is pleased to kick off its 35th Anniversary Reading Series on Saturday, September 10th with former Rockville and Gaithersburg resident Martín Espada, the “Latino poet of his generation” and a graduate of the former Woodward High School. 

Today, Espada is the author of ten collections of critically acclaimed poetry, including his recently published collection, TheTrouble Ball. He’s currently a professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. But in 1973, at the age of sixteen, he worked on a cleaning crew at a Sears & Roebuck in Bethesda, an experience he would later write about in the poem "My Heart Kicked Like a Mouse in a Paper Bag," which appears in his latest collection (excerpt below).

“That sixteen year-old boy working at Sears wrote poetry at the time,” Espada says, “but never would have imagined that he would one day return to Bethesda to give a poetry reading.”

When: Saturday, September 10, 7:30 P.M. Register here
Where: The Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD 20815
Admission: $10 for TWC members; $15 for non-members
Details: Contact 301.654.8664 for details, or visit

In addition to this event, Martín Espada will also lead a workshop on Sunday, September 11 (Barbaric Yawp). Here’s an excerpt from his poem “My Heart Kicked Like a Mouse in a Paper Bag” (used with permission by the author):

A stock boy handed me a paper bag one night
as if it were the lunch he forgot to eat, and punched out.
The bag was alive. There was a mouse inside, kicking,
caught sniffing around the Crusher. Bewildered boy
that I was, I called security, department store cops
who loitered at the loading dock, breath hot
from smoking, hunting shoplifters and telling lies
about the war. One of them said: Where’s the mouse?

About the 35th Anniversary Reading Series
The Writer’s Center’s 35th Anniversary Reading Series includes authors who represent the diversity of The Writer’s Center community, which has nurtured a wide variety of writers—and readers—throughout its long history in the DC area. Featured readers include “the Latino poet of his generation,” Martín Espada; renowned slam poet Taylor Mali; and the author of the first-ever biography of Kurt Vonnegut, Charles J. Shields—also the prize-winning biographer of Harper Lee. Finally, longtime TWC workshop leader and novelist Robert Bausch and his former TWC student Allison Leotta prove how successful workshop leaders inspire success in workshop participants. Each event singly is $10 for members/students with a valid ID and $15 for non-members. You can purchase a season pass, though: $30 for members/students; $45 for non-members. Purchase tickets here.

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