The Academy of American Poets invited twelve guest editors to each curate a month of poems in 2020. In this short Q&A, David Tomas Martinez discusses his curatorial approach and his own creative work.
Poets.org: How did you approach curating Poem-a-Day?
David Tomas Martinez: This curation focuses solely on Latinx poetry. A whole month of voices that identify as Latinx. I believe this is the first time for Poem-A-Day. Que exciting. There are poems written in Spanish. Poems about la frontera. Poems about blackness. Sensual poems. Politically active poems. There are nature poems. Poems that are funny. Poems that are heartbreaking. But they are all unapologetically brown poems.
Poets.org: If you could direct readers to one poem in our collection at Poets.org that you haven’t curated, what would it be and why?
DTM: “My Father” by the iconic deceased Chicanx poet, Francisco X. Alarcón. A poet that, while rather known, was feloniously under-read during his lifetime and, posthumously, still is. Alarcón’s poems are often athletically built, with fluid narratives that surprise despite their relatively small space. 'My Father' places the speaker of the poem opposite, yet adjacent, to the father for a lunch. Traditionally, meals are seats of camaraderie, but in this poem the meal is a truce, not between people but between ideals.
Poets.org: Who are you reading right now?
DTM: Guillotine by Eduardo C. Corral. Post Colonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz. The Absurd Man by Major Jackson. Obit by Victoria Chang. Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry by John Murillo. Seeing The Body by Rachel Eliza Griffiths.
Poets.org: What are you working on now in your writing, teaching, or publishing life?
DTM: I’m writing my third book of poems, which touches on many themes about masculinity and fatherhood.