The poem “Dedication” by Gustavo Perez Firmat is imbued with a lot of irony. The first irony is the poet stating that he does not belong to English; this is ironic given the fact that he is writing the poem in English.
Don’t belong to English
Though I belong nowhere else,
If no here,
It is funny the way the poet confuses the reader by first claiming that he does not belong here, yet he has nowhere else he belongs except for the English world. What is more, the standard of English that he uses suggests that he belongs to the English world and has been practicing this language for a long time.
In this poem, language, English, and race are given priority. It is ironic that the headline gives priority to the speakers of English when speaking about the Cubans. When the poet refers to some instances as lovely, he is also implying that black is beautiful, which is ironic in the first place. There are questions as to whether the words “put a new face” really mean that black can put on a new face. Gustavo tries to highlight the irony that African Americans are not supposed to be in the white domain.
As the poet heads to the end of the poem, he alludes to the fact that the English language can be used to bring unity, and of this unity, he says he is not a part. As he advocates for unity, he contradicts himself by saying that this unity is not what he wants in the first place. In the beginning of the poem, the poet was advocating for unity, and now he is not. b This is given the fact that black have been known to have been taught the English language. At what time were they regarded as the owners of the language? The poet tries to put across the fact that the English language was not meant for the blacks; this is satirical in itself. In this poem, race and language have been portrayed in satire and irony. : There are various instances where the themes of race, language, and culture are portrayed in the poem; the funny thing is the fact that these are portrayed in an ironic way.
In conclusion, Gustavo has used a lot of irony to show the extent to which race has penetrated the lives of Cubans and all black Americans. I cannot agree with him any more when he brings out the fact that race is an invisible construct, such that he speaks of readers as human beings. The bottom line is that race is real and should be eradicated; this is not something that is directly portrayed by the poet.