July 7, 2010

Federico García Lorca

Federico García Lorca [Spain]

Raised in the Moorish city of Granada, Federico García Lorca grew up enchanted by puppets, toy theaters, and theater in general. He attended the University of Granada, where he earned a law degree in 1923. But it was an interruption to his university studies, when he traveled to Madrid where he haunted the Residencia de Estudiantes, that he discovered his true talents. There he met the poets Pedro Salina, Jorge Guillén, and Juan Ramón Jiménez and the painter Salvador Dalí, creating lasting friendships.

It was also during this period that he published his first book of poetry, Libro de poemas (Book of Poems) in 1921. Canciones followed in 1927, much of it written during this same period. In 1929-1930, García Lorca left Spain to live in New York (on the campus of Columbia University), and it was there he wrote the important collection, Poeta en Nueva York (Poet in New York), published after his death. After a short visit to Cuba, he returned to Spain, becoming the head of the theatrical company, La Barraca, an experimental student group set up by the Unión Federal de Estudiantes Hispanos, with subvention by the Republican government.

The company performed a classical repertoire, and further involved him in theater writing. In early 1920, his first play, El maleficio de la mariposa (The Butterfly's Evil Spell) was performed. Although that play was unsuccessful, he followed it with several others in the the late 1920s up until the time of his death. His most notable works include Bodas de sangre (Blood Wedding), first performed in 1933; Yerma (performed in 1934); and La casa de Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba), performed after his death.

In February 1936, the new Spanish elections brought to power the Popular Front, an alliance of liberal and leftist parties. An increasing polarization between the right and left was the immediate result, and when a coup d'état failed, civil war began. García Lorca had already made his leftist political positions quite apparent the years just prior to this. In early July, he decided to leave Madrid for a visit to his family in Granada. He arrived in Granada on July 14th; the Spanish military uprising in Africa took place just three days later, and on the 20th the Granada garrison declared their support of Franco and together with the rebel generals took control of the city. A political purge followed, resulting in hundreds of "official" executions, which took place on the city cemetery. On August 16th, after taking up supposedly safe haven in the house of his poet-friend Luis Rosales, Lorca was arrested. As a leftist, a homosexual, and a man of the arts, there was little question in the minds of the Franco supporters that he was a threat. The date of his death by execution is uncertain. But on August 18th or 19th, at the age of 38, he was murdered.


Libro de poemas (Madrid: Maroto, 1921); Canciones (Málaga, Spain: Litoral/Imprenta Sur, 1927); Primer romancero gitano (Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1928); Poema del cante jondo (Madrid: Ulises/Iberoamericana, 1931); Oda a Walt Whitman (Mexico City: Alcancía, 1933); Llanto por Igacio Sánchez Mejías (Madrid: Cruz & Raya/Arbol, 1935); Seis poemas galegos (Santiago de Compostela, Spain: Nós, 1935); Primeras canciones (Madrid: Héroe, 1936); Obras completas, 8 volumes, edited by Guillermo de Torre (Buenos Aires: Losada, 1938-1946); Poeta en Nueva York (Mexico City: Séneca, 1940); Poemas póstumos (Mexico City: Mexicanas, 1945); Diván del Tamarit (Barcelona: A.D.L., 1948); Siete poemas y dos dibujos inéditos, edited by Luis Rosales (Madrid: Cultura Hispánica, 1949); Suites, edited by André Belamich (Barcelona: Ariel, 1983).


Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter (London: Heinemann, 1937; New York: Oxford University Press, 1937); Poems, trans. by Stephen Spender and J. L. Gili (London: Dolphin/New York: Oxford, 1939); The Poet in New York and Other Poems of Federico García Lorca, trans. by Rolfe Humphries (New York: Norton, 1940); Gypsy Ballads, translated by Langston Hughes (Beloit, Wisconsin: Beloit College, 1951); The Selected Poems of Federico García Lorca (New York: New Directions, 1955); Poem of the Gypsy Seguidilla (Providence, R.I.: Burning Deck, 1967); Diván and Other Writings, trans. by Edwin Honig (Providence, R.I.: Bonewhistle, 1974); Songs, edited by Daniel Eisenberg (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1976); Poem of the Deep Song (San Francisco: City Lights, 1988); Ode to Walt Whitman and Other Poems, trans. by Carlos Bauer (San Francisco: City Lights, 1988); Four Lorca Suites, trans. by Jerome Rothenberg (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1989); Sonnets of Love Forbidden, trans. by David K. Loughran (Missoula, Montana: Windsong, 1989); Federico García Lorca: Selected Verse, edited by Christopher Maurer (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1994); Suites, trans. by Jerome Rothenberg (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2001)

1 comment:

Unusual Connections said...

A spooky death too - exactly five years after the publication of When Five Years Pass, whose protagonist is virtually executed. And according to Ian Gibson, there was no moon the night he died.