Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Trouble Ball” as Want to Read:
The Trouble Ball
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Trouble Ball

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  95 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In this new collection of poems, Martín Espada crosses the borderlands of epiphany and blasphemy: from a pilgrimage to the tomb of Frederick Douglass to an encounter with the swimming pool at a center of torture and execution in Chile, from the adolescent discovery of poet Omar Khayyám to the death of an "illegal" Mexican immigrant.

from "The Trouble Ball"

      On my father
Hardcover, 66 pages
Published April 4th 2011 by W. W. Norton Company
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Trouble Ball, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Trouble Ball

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  95 ratings  ·  12 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Trouble Ball
Literary Review The
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
By Michael Thurston

For The Literary Review
Volume 54 "The Rat's Nest"

Martin Espada is a big dude. Man’s got to be six five and I’m not even going to
guess at his weight. Let it suffice to say that when he performed in a local amateur
production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream a few years ago, he played the wall that
separates Pyramus and Thisbe. He is an imposing presence, not only physically but
also in the communities of Latino poetry, political poetry, and just plain American
poetry. And while he
Therese Broderick
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Unfolding events during the Fall of 2011 pose this question: what powerful, inspiring words should the Occupy Wall Street protesters be declaiming, reciting, chanting? I suggest: words from the poems of Martin Espada. Even after decades of struggle by advocates of the powerless, the plight of today's powerless Americans (and non-Americans) still resembles the oppressive, unjust conditions depicted in these historical poem-stories. But heroes are also depicted -- ordinary men & women, family & fr ...more
Dec 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
While the dust jacket's Pablo Neruda comparisons are inflated, Espada writes with force and clarity about some of the things that matter most: the fight against injustice, holding into ideals in the face of tyranny, making sense of time's passage. A poem honoring the life work of Howard Zinn is a mesmerizing high point.

My favorite poetry has a profound sense of place, and most of these poems do: whether about Espada's home (New York City) or foreign concerns (Latin America, Puerta Rico), they g
Andrew Reynolds
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
for Sam Hamill

Let the blasphemy be spoken: poetry can save us,
not the way a fisherman pulls the drowning swimmer
into his boat, not the way Jesus, between screams,
promised life everlasting to the thief crucified beside him
on the hill, but salvation nevertheless.

Somewhere a convict sobs into a book of poems
from the prison library, and I know why
his hands are careful not to break the brittle pages.
Karen Douglass
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our poetry book club discussed this book recently and of the eight readers seven were impressed with at least some of the poems. Espada's style is narrative, rich, and political. The politics caused some debate because a few of the stronger poems were not personal, but events that the poet had researched. However, he has a masterful use of the language, and pays homage in style, content and depth of insight to Whitman. ...more
Vincent Scarpa
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Favorites included: "His Hands Have Learned What Cannot Be Taught"; "The Swimming Pool at Villa Grimaldi"; "Isable's Corrido"; "Blasphemy"; "Walking"; and "Like A Word That Somersaults Through the Air." ...more
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, library, poetry
beautiful poems on a wide range of subjects, all effortlessly touching on the personal and the political. espada is a master of poetic language and this is a lovely collection.
Maughn Gregory
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
These poems of revolutionary politics and poetic blasphemy shot me right through the heart.
Andy Oram
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
Hard-hitting, unblinking--but with wonderful plays of words, these are prose poems about many parts of this very interesting author's life: his tough life in the poor neighborhoods of New York City, his travels to distraut countries, his poet friends. Mostly conversational, the vignettes bounce with phrases that manage to be simultaneously lyrical and gritty ("your vision floating like the black butterflies of cinders").
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, politics
Engaging mix of personal and political. The latter reminiscent of Galeano.
Stephen Power
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Holy crap! I came to this because I really liked the titular poem, and however good it is it's hardly the best in the book. "Epiphany" is incredible. Every line is a poem greater than all the poems in most books. "How to Read Ezra Pound" puts paid to Pound. I kind of feel bad for "Trouble Ball" playing a great game and getting beat so often on the home court of its own book. ...more
rated it it was amazing
Aug 25, 2018
Dave Stone
rated it really liked it
Mar 15, 2013
Emily Rose Miller
rated it it was amazing
Dec 16, 2016
rated it liked it
Feb 11, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Mar 22, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Aug 14, 2012
Makenzie Nokes
rated it it was amazing
Jun 15, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Feb 26, 2013
Sherry Scott
rated it it was amazing
Jul 18, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Jun 28, 2015
Kourtnie McKenzie
rated it really liked it
May 13, 2015
rated it really liked it
Mar 23, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Feb 17, 2013
Spencer Hendrixson
rated it it was amazing
Aug 19, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Mar 25, 2013
rated it really liked it
Aug 29, 2018
Susan Goldstein
rated it it was amazing
Oct 02, 2017
Tim Hoiland
rated it really liked it
Apr 01, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Dec 06, 2017
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America's Stolen Land
  • Improvisation Without Accompaniment (New Poets of America)
  • Always Danger
  • Living Weapon: Poems
  • Elsewhere, Vol. 1
  • Evolution
  • The Tiniest Muzzle Sings Songs of Freedom
  • Anybody: Poems
  • Sea Summit: Poems
  • Embroideries
  • How the Water Holds Me
  • Excellence, Vol. 1: Kill the Past
  • The Dance of Intimacy: A Woman's Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships
  • Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike
  • Appalachia: Poems
  • Copperhead, Vol. 2
  • Speak Low
  • The Prophet
See similar books…
Sandra Cisneros says: “Martín Espada is the Pablo Neruda of North American authors.” Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1957. He has published thirteen books in all as a poet, essayist, editor and translator. His eighth collection of poems, The Republic of Poetry, was published by Norton in October, 2006. Of this new collection, Samuel Hazo writes: "Espada unites in these poems the fierce al ...more

Related Articles

This June, as we observe LGBTQ Pride—the annual celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning communities—we...
211 likes · 72 comments