I'm reading Sergio Pitol's journal-essay on travelling in the Soviet Union in 1986, reflections on Russian writers, called El viaje (Anagrama, 2001). I'll begin reading Francisco Goldman's latest novel, The Divine Husband (Grove, 2004) later today. I'm not drawn much to José Martí's poetry but his time in Ybor City as a lector for cigar factories interests me, partly from having lived there for two years. (The topic of Ybor and the figure of the lector are addressed in Nilo Cruz's great play Anna in the Tropics. Though in Cruz's play Ybor is incidental to the confrontation between tradition and modernity, language vs. money.)
Martí is honored at the small elegant park there with his white statue and black benches along a tiled pathway. A map of Cuba painted on a mural behind the statue. Goldman's novel follows the time Martí spent in Guatemala, his poetry as an aspect of the story. Versions of what poetry is and what it does. Reading as a version of what the poet does, the poet does nothing or arranges nothing with "magic" words.