“…Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”
These words, engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted in the Statue of Liberty in 1903, have become emblematic of the American experience. They are the words of Emma Lazarus, a poet who like the twenty-three other poets represented in this anthology, could acknowledge, and at times perhaps even embrace, Portuguese roots while forging an indisputably American identity.
Portuguese-American poets are a varied group – in theme and style as well as in geographic distribution. What they have in common, in addition to the ancestral link, is that they are American poets. Their work falls within the traditions of the best in that category.