Garcia Lorca and thoughts…

June 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

I really love the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936). His poems sneak up on you like sunshine slipping from under a cloud. They are full of taste and smell and color processed by a loving sensibility. Garcia Lorca was a poet, an artist, a playwright and a musician and he was also an amateur folklorist, gathering folk-nursery songs from all corners of Spain. He celebrated without shame Spain’s southern/Arab-influenced region at a time when it wasn’t fashionable to do so. He formed part of Spain’s generation of 1927 which gave the world a great burst of unique scholarship and artistic achievement.

When I think of the various generations of Spanish writers (generation of ’98–that would be 189–of 1927, etc) and looking at photos of Garcia Lorca, arm in arm with Vicente Aleixandre, Luis Cernuda, Damaso Alonso, etc…I really have to admire those guys. Those Spanish poets and writers saw, before their politicians, that Spain, in the first part of the 20th century, was headed for the sewer culturally and politically; these bold men (and women) rallied as artists and writers and thinkers; they overcame their jealousies and competition and they really did something for their country and their mother tongue. You can see them taking off from the powerful 19th century influences (American: Poe, Whitman, French: Hugo, Mallarme, Baudelaire) and committing themselves to making something of their own. It is tremendously affecting to see how cross-fertilized they were in all the arts: music, painting, sculpture, theater, poetry, fiction.

Maybe I am dreaming but I think Seattle will forever be muddled in provincialism as long as none of our cultural leaders take a stand on anything. Until they stop taking their cue from the New York Times or the National Librarians Guild or National Bookclubs or whatever. The first step away from provincialism is to commit yourself to something you love and trust with your own reactions. Having an opinion that doesn’t have to be shored up by 1000 or a million other consenting opinions. Until then Seattle will be mired in provinciality and maintain its backwater status.

Back to Garcia Lorca; how can you not love a poet who writes poems to the guitar? (My translations)

When I die,
bury me with my guitar
beneath the sand.

When I die,
among the orange groves
and the heirbabuena.

When I die,
bury me if you please
in a wheathervane.

When I die!

To the Ear of a Girl
I didn’t want to.
I didn’t want to tell you anything.

I saw in your eyes
two crazy trees.

How they wriggled.

I didn’t want to.
I didn’t want to tell you anything.

If You
The sky will get lost:
country girl,
under the cherry trees,
full of red cries,
I want you.

The sky will disappear…
if you understand this,
just walking by the tree
you give me your kisses.

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