Libro de Percances / Book of Mishaps – Ricardo Jesús Mejías Hernández translated by Don Cellini
Venezuela is a country in crisis. The economic crisis has produced hyperinflation and prices have risen by more than 6,000%. Millions of citizens do not have access to basic health care and adequate nutrition. Police practices are brutal. With all this happening simultaneously, it’s no surprise that more than 5.5 million citizens have left Venezuela, the largest mass migration in recent Latin American history. In Venezuela, citizens sometimes die at home because there is no fuel for ambulances. Rolling blackouts leave citizens without electricity for many hours at a time and when the power returns, the surge of electricity sometimes damages appliances. Venezuela rarely publishes books because there is scarce paper to print them on. This is the world of poet Ricardo Jesús Mejías Hernández. The poet, however, has taken all the events of daily life and elevated them, has transformed them into poetry. These poems of the struggles of everyday life in Venezuela have risen above the everyday and ultimately won the National Literary Competition IPASME in 2015. Libro de Percances /Book of Mishaps appears here for the first time in English. In the short poems in the collection, the poet longs for a place of refuge. But he does not die. He does not go into exile. He finds his escape in these poems. Power outages or not, despite whatever inflation surrounds him, he always finds his solace in poetry. …