A Poem Against Tyranny
By Margarita Engle
When words are banned by a president
who imagines that limiting language
is his entitlement, all poets must use
our vulnerable freedom of speech
before we lose it the way transgender people
can lose rights, the White House has lost
diversity, and any fetus might lose hope for
a healthy future, simply because
medicine is only for the rich,
and science-based facts
are prohibited—but only UNTIL
the deceptive election is investigated,
and truth once again
sets us free.
Margarita Engle is the national Young People’s Poet Laureate and the first Latino to receive that honor. She is the Cuban-American author of many verse novels, including The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor winner, and The Lightning Dreamer, a PEN USA Award winner. Her verse memoir, Enchanted Air, received the Pura Belpré Award, Golden Kite Award, Walter Dean Myers Honor, and Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, among others. Drum Dream Girl received the Charlotte Zolotow Award for best picture book text.
Her newest verse novel about the Cuba is Forest World, and her newest picture books are All the Way to Havana and Miguel’s Brave Knight, Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote.
Books forthcoming in 2018 include The Flying Girl, How Aida de Acosta Learned to Soar and Jazz Owls, a Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots.
Margarita was born in Los Angeles, but developed a deep attachment to her mother’s homeland during childhood summers with relatives. She was trained as an agronomist and botanist as well as a poet and novelist. She lives in central California with her husband. Visit her website at www.margaritaengle.com.
Photo credit: Amparo Torres O. via a Creative Commons license.