A Consolation Dog: a Note from Duende's Faculty Advisor

M. A. Vizsolyi


I often wonder why it is that people turn to literature during their darkest moments, when the world of the mind seems be overcast and most cold. I wonder why poems, stories, memoir. Why not television? Why not movies? What's literature's power in this case? Maybe it has something to do with the challenge and fullness of the mind as we make leaps and imaginings, or maybe it's the way time slows down when reading, like a joyrider on a particularly beautiful stretch of cliff-side road. 

Tracey K. Smith, our current Poet Laureate, describes it this way: "There’s a deep and interesting kind of troubling that poems do, which is to say: ‘This is what you think you’re certain of, and I’m going to show you how that’s not enough. There’s something more that might be even more rewarding if you’re willing to let go of what you already know.’ ” How wise I think that statement about poetry is, how it opens up and reveals motives when reading. I think, then, that literature exposes something about our state of mind, digs below some hardened fold we were using to protective ourselves, and reveals something hidden, something true. 

The pieces in this issue, you'll find, reveal in both direct and subtle ways something about a state of mind. There are protest pieces, which seem to almost change the wording of the issue to (The United) States of Mind, asking the reader to take part in uprooting systematic oppression that brought them to their current state. And there are pieces about love, joy, hope, anger, and, yes, certainly melancholy. I particularly love Thomas Terceira's art piece as the header for this issue, with its beams of light directed outward from the mind. I think of our authors sharing their states with us, asking us to allow those beams of brilliance to do some opening up, and to allow some healing.  

So, in the words of Russian poet, Olga Sedakova, "accept, my friend, a consolation dog,/ a lovely dog, a thing of beauty./ It's made of nothing and all its traits/ are rainbows."