Other Letters to Milena is a translation of a mixedgenre work by acclaimed Cuban poet Reina Maria Rodriguez in which poetry merges into creative nonfiction, culminating in a series of essays.
Published in Spanish as Otras cartas a Milena, Other Letters to Milena shows Rodriguez confronting pressing issues at the turn of the twenty first century. These involve a new postSoviet world and the realities of diasporic existence, which have a profound effect even on people like Rodriguez who have not migrated but continue to live and work in their home nation. The book's title references Franz Kafka, whose Letters to Milena was published after his death in 1952, signals that Rodriguez participates in her city's long cosmopolitan tradition asserted by Cuban writers and scholars of Cuban literature. Rodriguez's youngest daughter, featured most prominently in the letters making up the collection's centerpiece, "A Girl's Story," was named after Milena Jesenska, the recipient of Kafka's letters.
With the poems provided in a bilingual format, the collection will be of interest both to English readers in general (this will be the first English translation of a complete Rodriguez collection not excerpted from a larger work) and to Spanish readers unable to obtain the collection in any form, given the difficulty of distributing Cuban literature outside that country.
At the end of the book Dykstra has included a critical commentary. It clarifies many of the author's references, such as details pertaining to her family history items Dykstra learned during lengthy discussions with the author about her work and influences about her choices in the translation.