Introduction & Overview of Colibri

Martín Espada
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Colibri Summary & Study Guide Description

Colibri Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on Colibri by Martín Espada.

"Colibrí" first appeared in the Americas Review and is included in Martín Espada's bilingual second collection Rebellion Is the Circle of a Lover's Hands, published in 1990. Espada won the 1989 PEN/Revson Award and the Paterson Poetry Prize for the book. Like his other collections, Rebellion Is the Circle of a Lover's Hands gives voice to oppressed peoples, particularly Latinos, and demonstrates a historical awareness of the roots of oppression. Written in four short free-verse stanzas, "Colibrí," which means hummingbird, addresses the colonization by the Spanish of the Taino, the native people who inhabit what is now called Puerto Rico. Setting the poem in Jayuya, a city founded in 1883 and the place of a 1950 uprising, Espada uses crisp imagery and an extended metaphor to connect past to present and to evoke sympathy for the Taino. Espada's father is Puerto Rican and many of his poems address the island's history and its fight for independence.

This poem is a good example of Espada's ability to politicize his subject matter without sounding strident or condescending. He is able to do this by showing rather than telling readers about the Taino's situation. By focusing on the ways in which the Spanish conquered the Taino using language as well as guns, Espada universalizes the Taino's plight, suggesting that oppressed peoples throughout history have endured similar tribulations. The image of hands occurs in poems throughout the collection, particularly the hands of working-class people such as janitors and secretaries.

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This section contains 247 words
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Poetry for Students
Colibri from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.