Saturday, March 24, 2018

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March 24, 2018

Heal the Cracks in the Bell of the World

Martín Espada
Martin Espada reads "Heal the Cracks in the Bell of the World"

About This Poem


"As the dedication indicates, on December 14, 2012, a gunman killed twenty students and six educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. I wrote this poem for the National Children's Day event Within Our Reach, held at the Newtown Congregational Church on June 8, 2013—less than six months after the tragedy. The 'city where children gathered copper shells like beach glass' is Tirana, Albania, site of the Bell of Peace; the city 'where cannons from the armies of the Great War / sank into molten metal' is Rovereto, Italy, site of the Campana dei Caduti (Bell of the Fallen) or Maria Dolens bell. The 'town with a flagpole on Main Street' is, of course, Newtown."

—Martín Espada



Martín Espada is the author of more than fifteen books as a poet, editor, essayist, and translator. His most recent poetry collection is Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (W. W. Norton, 2016). He is currently a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst.


Photo credit: David González


Featured Poetry


Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence

(Beacon Press, 2017)


Editors Brian Clements, Alexandra Teague, and Dean Rader used a phrase from Espada's poem for the title of their anthology, in which the poem appears. For more information about gun-related violence in the United States and to read more about the book, visit

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"Heal the Cracks in the Bell of the World" by Martín Espada