José Kozer & Reina María Rodriguez

Added on by Jessie Aufiery.

All photos courtesy of Gesi Schilling.

All photos courtesy of Gesi Schilling.

Fans of José Kozer & Reina María Rodriguez, two of the most important living poets of Cuban descent, gathered to chat and laugh in the temperate evening air this Wednesday, gradually wandering over to fill the chairs in front of the makeshift stage—complete with couches and lamps—that was set up on Edgewater’s basketball court. (More on Kozer and Rodriguez here.)

Reina María Rodriguez

Reina María Rodriguez

A duck was shooed from the gate before the reading began, only to make a beeline minutes later for a shrub where it had concealed a nest; at the pool, several kittens lapped at the water with a proprietary air—all of which felt appropriate to the occasion, as though even the animals wished to hear the poets speak.

José Kozer 

José Kozer 

Kozer and Rodriguez were introduced by Jai-Alai editor José A. Villar-Portela, and (woe to the uninitiated: time for those private lessons!) read their work in the original Spanish.

José A. Villar-Portela

José A. Villar-Portela

Rodriguez spoke in a soft, steady voice, a smooth curtain of hair draped to either side of her face, while Kozer hunched intently over the microphone, his long fingers twisting and twirling and keeping time as he read.    

Perrier and wine were on offer after the reading, and Books & Books provided copies of the poets’ works. 

Rodriguez & Kozer

Rodriguez & Kozer