Biography of Federico Garcia Lorca

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Biography of Federico Garcia Lorca

Born in Fuente Vaqueros, Granada, Spain, June 5,1898; died near Granada,

August 19,1936, García Lorca is Spain's most deeply appreciated and highly

revered poet and dramatist. His murder by the Nationalists at the start of the

Spanish civil war brought sudden international fame, accompanied by an excess

of political rhetoric which led a later generation to question his merits; after the

inevitable slump, his reputation has recovered (largely with a shift in interest to

the less obvious works). He must now be bracketed with MACHADO as one of

the two greatest poets Spain has produced this century, and he is certainly

Spain's greatest dramatist since the Golden Age.

As a poet, his early reputation rested on the Romancero gitano (Madrid, 1928; tr.

R. Humphries, The Gypsy Ballads of García Lorca, Bloomington, 1953), the

poems of Poema del Cante Jondo (Madrid, 1931), and Llanto por Ignacio

Sanchez Mejias (Madrid, 1935; tr. A. L. Lloyd, in Lament for the Death of a

Bullfighter, and Other Poems, London, 1937), all profoundly Andalusian, richly

sombre in their mood and imagery, and disquieting in their projection of a

part-primitive, part-private world of myth moved by dark and not precisely

identifiable forces; but, beneath the flamenco trappings, there is a deeper -

perhaps personal - anguish, as well as a superb rhythmical and linguistic sense

(the Llanto is one of the four best elegies in the Spanish language). Critical

interest has since shifted to the tortured, ambiguous and deliberately dissonant

surrealist poems of Poeta en Nueva York (Mexico City, 1940; tr. B. Belitt, Poet in

New York, London, 1955), and to the arabesque casidas and gacelas of Divein

de Tamarit (NY, 1940). An early major anthology in English is Poems (tr. S.

Spender & J. L. Gili, London, 1939).

As a dramatist, early romantic pieces with social implications such as Mariana

Pineda (Madrid, 1928; tr. J. GrahamLuidn & R. L. O'Connell in Collected Plays,

London, 1976) and the comic invention of La zapatera prodigiosa (first

performed 1930, amplified 1935, pub. Buenos Aires, 1938; The Shoemaker's

Prodigious Wife in Collected Plays) established him in the public eye, while his

fostering of popular theatre gave him a left-wing reputation which contributed to

his death (although his homosexuality also made him a target).


... middle of paper ...

...'that shows it

Just the way it happened.

Well, not exactly...only partially'.

More like infinitesimally, or not at all--

For the substance of that experience

Stayed buried deep inside,

Beyond the scope of DNA

In a glob of electricity,

That irretrievably drained

As his body died.

But I live yet, in agony,

Awaiting my fate,

Making love to my pain.

What else can I do?

All words are untrue.

This paper is just another

Self-created mirror

Which will not polish clean,

Its myriad distortions

A Turin-Shroud charade.

And yet it is said,

Patience is a virtue.

But I know instead,

Patience is a vulture

Made up of time

Picking at my spine.

Pick, tick...

Pick, tick...

Pick, tick...


I Saw Death

I saw death in the mirror.

I saw death at the center.

I saw the white below my iris.

I saw time slowing quickly.

I saw my chances drop to nothing.

It came raining from the bruised skies;

Traveling the city streets on wheels, in packs;

Marching in step in smart uniforms;

Skulking in alleys and alcoves;

In opulence and wretchedness;

In innocent savance and calculated ignorance;

Nowhere at all

And everywhere at once,

Wrapping all life in its eternal curse.

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