The Dirty Goat is an international journal of visual art, poetry and prose that attempts to deliver a healthy bilingual tasting of literature from wide-ranging cultures and nations from the Ukraine to Iran. The pieces in this journal not only speak to the immigrant experience, as epitomized by the journal’s namesake, they also transport us to a place simultaneously otherworldly yet familiar, as if we were home, but it had been slightly altered from the photography of our memories.
In the visual art piece by Leonor Beuter, an Argentinean, “The Unequaled Ones. Their Unlikely Definition,” a striking photograph of a miniature world and its miniature creatures, often described like insects is themed after a poem by the poet Maria Rosa Lojo.
The poem “Last Letter to a Son” by Alexis Lykiard is an ode to the philosophical trials and tribulations of youth: “Loneliness may be relative, though every boy / rushing to certainty, becoming his own man, / instinctively retains an inkling of what’s lost. / It isn’t cynical to know the dreadful cost.” In this passage the main figure is transforming into what he will become, and all the regrets that come with it. In Bodhan-Ihor Antonych’s poem “A Song on The Indestructibility of Matter,” as translated from the Ukranian by Michael M. Naydan, another kind of transformative experience is depicted; this is the metamorphosis of the earth in relation to man and how what is destroyed seems temporary. “A green flood of plant life rivers rises / the endless clatter of hours, comets and leaves. / The flood envelops me, crushes me with the white sun, / and my body will become charcoal, my song will turn to ashes.” This poem highlights the evolution of the planet as things are created and destroyed again and again in the cycle of life.
In the poem “Childhood is a dress that doesn’t always fit” written and translated into English by Anabelle Despard, the author explores the notion of adults who relive or continue living their never-ending adolescence through their own children: “I wanted to make a garment for my child: / Sensible, yet intricately stitched” // Our children wait to be fed, while we / sit nursing our own childhoods.
When we are introduced to the poet Pooran Kaveh of Iran as translated from the Farsi by Afshin Hafzi and Angela Merta, we meet the minimal world of a kind of sage like poetry that attempts to lead its followers on a journey of identity discovery and perhaps even redemption. In “Stranger,” Kaveh discusses the difficulties of the immigrant experience. “I remember your name / But this is not you / It is a ridiculous immigrant in a tarnished mirror.”
So if you can’t voyage to distant and faraway continents, at least immerse yourself in their beautifully translated phrases, words and images until you see a bit of yourself in their experiences and ideals, and poof! Your eyes will open and by magic you will be where they are. Not to be corny, but all existence has a universal appeal that should draw people of all races and cultures together in their delightful fascination that they, like you, will continue to read what The Dirty Goat has to offer.