Artful Dodge 34/35 opens with work by Orlando Ricardo Menes which centers on the struggles of family during and after their immigration to the U.S. from Cuba. I’m not sure what I should tell you in order to really sell his original works, but I was surprised by them. I was a bit jolted by the open interplay between English and Spanish. Although I had to lean on the footnotes to completely understand the poems’ inner dialogue, I found that the Spanish created a melodic reading, and an honest voice.
Of course, Menes’ introduction to the José Kozer poems in this issue explain not only a piece of Kozer’s history, but a part of Menes’ personal history as well. Kozer is a poet of Jewish heritage, who also grew up in Cuba. Like Kozer, Menes uses his personal history to set a strong cultural backdrop, and give astute and intimate portrayals of his family’s life. So, if you find yourself with a copy of AD 34/35, be sure to pay attention to the first few pages—you don’t want to miss out on something quite special.
—autumn, Editorial Asst.—