Four New Poems by Margarita Engle

Here are FOUR exclusive poems by Margarita Engle (including one for prom)!  Don’t miss our interview with this multi-award winning poet—click here.


The Abolitionist Poets of Cuba

Without a free North
where lawmakers and orators
could take a stand

the work fell to poets
who veiled their opinions
with metaphors

Image © Ajari (

Image © Ajari (

composing musical rhymes
about caged birds


and orphans.

Poetry became the parent
and grandparent

of a rhythmically

Cuban-American Identity Crisis

When my mother was stateless,
she was not a refugee
or an immigrant
or an exile.

Just an ordinary person
rejected by history,
struggling to hold onto
her birth-self,
like a comet
or a meteor,
streaking its way
between worlds,
a lost

Biology Field Trip

I know that my friends
all expect me to pretend
I hate walking around
like a silly little kid
who searches for insects
flowers, and fossils,
then peers—like an old person—
into these miniature centers
of life…

but the secret sway
of arms and legs as I walk
feels so natural, and so wide awake
that I can imagine becoming a nomad,
a wandering scientist, always traveling
toward unknown

Imported Corsage

Image © World Bank Photo Collection (

Image © World Bank Photo Collection (

Winter rose on my wrist—
I imagine the girl who tended
the fields in another country,
clipping stems,
touching thorns.

Reversed worlds.
Opposite hemisphere.

Will she attend a dance too—
her first summer baile,
of distance?

Margarita Engle, hiding so search and rescue dogs can practice finding a lost hikerMargarita Engle is the Cuban-American winner of the first Newbery Honor ever awarded to a Latino. Her award winning young adult novels in verse include “The Surrender Tree,” “The Poet Slave of Cuba,” “Tropical Secrets,” and “The Firefly Letters.”

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2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Linda Baie says:

    I love the thought of that child trying to pretend to hate the outdoors, and shyly reveling. And enjoyed the others, too, “like a comet
    or a meteor,
    streaking its way
    between worlds. The mind must be a whirl sometimes. Thanks for these!

  2. Margarita, fine work here. I especially like “The Abolitionist Poets…” because it explains the beauty and power that poetry has to address difficult issues without inciting riots. A YA librarian at my local library & I were talking about novels in verse. As she said, “You can say a lot without saying it” in poetry. In addition to making good reading, it provides readers with a model of a different way to process emotions and events.

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