PABLO MEDINA is a novelist and poet. His most recent novel Cubop City Blues has just been published in paperback by Grove Press. He teaches at Emerson College in Boston.
If anthropologists are right that culture is transmitted principally through the family, then childhood games are as much a part of culture as the novel, the modern manifestation of which was first elaborated by Cervantes between the end of the 16th century and beginning of the 17th. When game and novel come together, the results can be dazzling, as in Julio Cortázars Hopscotch, or belabored, as in Arturo Pérez Revertes mystery, The Flanders Panel. Lotería, the promising first novel by Mario Alberto Zambrano, falls somewhere between these two extremes, though it spends a lot more time dazzling us than boring us.
Among the postwar Spanish poets, arguably the most notable was José Ángel Valente, 1929 2000, a selection of whose poems has been published this year by Archipelago Press in a handsome bilingual edition titled Landscape with Yellow Birds.