Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Martín Espada’s poem "Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100” and Juan Antonio Corretjer’s poem and Roy Brown’s song “Oubao Moin"

Martín Espada's 9/11 poem "Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100" was the title poem of his 2003 "New and Selected Poems", a collection I first read in 2004. Over the years, I've used "Alabanza" in many courses. In preparing my forthcoming course on "La Poesía de Puerto Rico", I read poems by Juan Antonio Corretjer and discovered Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Roy Brown's songs based on Corretjer's poems, including "Oubao Moin", whose coda repeats "alabanza" with a joyous melody. I wondered if Espada was thinking of Corretjer's poem and/or Brown's song when he wrote "Alabanza", and today, in Espada's book, I saw that his epigraph is from the end of Corretjer's poem. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 29 August 2023)

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