While many students see the middle of the night as a time for sleeping or studying, a handful of Yale students are conceptualizing this period as the patron hour of reading, writing and reflection.
La Madrugada, a new Yale literary magazine that is fully dedicated to the publication of Spanish-language prose and poetry, is slated to publish its first-ever issue in early December. The magazine — which aims to fill a niche in the creative world on campus by providing a forum for self-expression in Spanish — draws its name from the Spanish word referring to the period of time between midnight and sunrise.
The inaugural issue of the magazine will feature short stories, poems, black-and-white print media, book and film reviews and other articles deemed to be of interest to the Yale community.
“At first it started from my need of publishing my own poetry, but I soon discovered that more and more people at Yale wanted to publish their work in Spanish,” La Madrugada President Dor Mizrahi ’16 said in an email to the News. “It is kind of bizarre, but sometimes it feels as if almost every student at Yale knows Spanish to some extent.”
Earlier this year, Mizrahi began reaching out to students and professors with the intent of starting a Spanish-language publication. Through his role as an editor for Accent, an undergraduate multilingual publication, he found a collaborator in the form of Marco Ortega ’15, who now serves as La Madrugada’s editor-in-chief.
Ortega said he wants La Madrugada to provide both native and second-language Spanish speakers with a creative outlet in the Spanish language, adding that he feels such an outlet has been lacking in his time at Yale.
“As an immigrant from Mexico, who has lived in Arizona for the last 10 years of my life, I have always felt unable to fully express myself in my language,” Ortega said in an email. “There is no reason why we shouldn’t celebrate this beautiful language in the U.S., as it has been spoken here for over 400 years.”
While La Madrugada’s primary objective is the publication of original content, Mizrahi and Ortega said they also hope to bring together a community of people interested in Spanish literature. In addition to publishing regular issues, Mizrahi said, the group plans to host events and bring different speakers to Yale’s campus. La Madrugada Events Coordinator Natalina Lopez ’16 said the publication is planning a launch party, and further events will follow as the magazine gains a greater campus presence.
La Madrugada Vice President Nikolaos Taki ’16, who also serves as the president of Yale European Undergraduates, said he is excited by the prospect of collaboration between the two organizations. According to Taki, the Yale European Undergraduates group will play a major role in sponsoring and publicizing La Madrugada’s events.
Ortega pointed to the titular character of Isabel Allende’s “Eva Luna” as a source of personal inspiration for his work on La Madrugada.
“I feel a deep connection with her in terms of heritage and character,” Ortega said. “Isabel Allende describes her as a creative mind born from an Amerindian father with yellow eyes and a European mother. Despite her illiteracy and poverty for the first two decades of her life, she eventually becomes a prolific writer. It is my hope that through La Madrugada, many will discover the art of writing — in Spanish — like Eva Luna.”
La Madrugada usually meets on Wednesday evenings at 9 p.m. in the Silliman Common Room.