Voices from the Other Side of Death
Poetry by Ariel Dorfman
Arte Público Press, June 2022
Voices from the Other Side of Death by Ariel Dorfman offers readers a series of poems written from the perspective of deceased historical figures to contemporary politicians and soldiers, warning about the need for reckoning and atonement. In one, Pablo Picasso speaks to Colin Powell, asking why his famous painting depicting the horror of war, Guernica, was covered when the secretary of state spoke about the invasion of Iraq at the United Nations. Others explore connections to loved ones, including “the love of my life, Angélica, the woman who helped me survive exile and tribulations and peopled my world with hope.” Dorfman writes about the passionate love the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan felt for his wife, which led to the construction of the Taj Mahal, and imagines conversations between William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, who died within hours of each other. These poems share the most human of emotions and expose Dorfman’s vulnerability as he embarks on the last leg of his journey.