Cadaqués, en el fiel del agua y la colina,
eleva escalinatas y oculta caracolas.
Las flautas de madera pacifican el aire.
Un viejo dios silvestre da frutas a los niños.
Sus pescadores duermen, sin ensueño, en la arena.
En alta mar les sirve de brújula una rosa.
El horizonte virgen de pañuelos heridos
junta los grandes vidrios del pez y de la luna.
Una dura corona de blancos bergantines
ciñe frentes amargas y cabellos de arena.
Las sirenas convencen, pero no sugestionan,
y salen si mostramos un vaso de agua dulce.
—Federico Garcia Lorca, “Oda a Salvador Dalì”
[Cadaqués, at the fulcrum of water and hill,
lifts flights of stairs and hides seashells.
Wooden flutes pacify the air.
An ancient woodland god gives the children fruit.
Her fishermen sleep dreamless on the sand.
On the high sea a rose is their compass.
The horizon, virgin of wounded handkerchiefs,
links the great crystals of fish and moon.
A hard diadem of white brigantines
encircles bitter foreheads and hair of sand.
The sirens convince, but they don’t beguile,
and they come if we show a glass of fresh water.]
If I could choose one place to be right now - Cadaqués, Girona, Catalunya.
softcommunication replied to your photo: Had the most intense and bizarre dream last night…
And somehow explain how Lorca was sleeping with women all of a sudden.
1) Your question assumes that sexuality is a fixed thing. For many people it isn’t.
2) It was a dream.
Had the most intense and bizarre dream last night in which Federico Garcia Lorca told me that he was having an affair with Frida Kahlo.
Think of it, they would’ve have made the most perfectly sublime and outrageous couple. If I were Woody Allen I could probably turn this into Goodnight in Mexico City.
Aquel rubio de Albacete
vino, madre, y me miró.
¡No lo puedo mirar yo!
Aquel rubio de los trigos
hijo de la verde aurora,
alto, sólo y sin amigos
pisó mi calle a deshora.
La noche se tiñe y dora
de un delicado fulgor
¡No lo puedo mirar yo!
Aquel lindo de cintura
sentí galán sin…
sembró por mi noche obscura
su amarillo jazminero
tanto me quiere y le quiero
que mis ojos se llevó.
¡No lo puedo mirar yo!
Aquel joven de la Mancha
vino, madre, y me miró.
¡No lo puedo mirar yo!
A poem written on the back of a receipt from the Academia Orad in Madrid (1935) for Juan Ramírez de Lucas, now presumed to have been Federico Garcia Lorca’s lover at the time of his death. Ramírez de Lucas passed away in 2010, leaving a box to his sister which contained a diary and various letters, poems and handwritten fragments that revealed the extent of his relationship with the poet.
via El Pais
These letters are to be as temporary as our poetry is to be permanent. They will establish the bulk, the wastage that my sour-stomached contemporaries demand to help them swallow and digest the pure word. We will use up our rhetoric here so that it will not appear in our poems. Let it be consumed paragraph by paragraph, day by day, until nothing of it is left in our poetry and nothing of our poetry is left in it. It is precisely because these letters are unnecessary that they must be written. In my last letter I spoke of the tradition. The fools that read these letters will think by this we mean what tradition seems to have meant lately—an historical patchwork (whether made up of Elizabethan quotations, guide books of the poet’s home town, or obscure bits of magic published by Pantheon) which is used to cover up the nakedness of the bare word. Tradition means much more than that. It means generations of different poets in different countries patiently telling the same story, writing the same poem, gaining and losing something with each transformation—but, of course, never really losing anything. This has nothing to do with calmness, classicism, temperament, or anything else. Invention is merely the enemy of poetry. See how weak prose is. I invent a word like invention. These paragraphs could be translated, transformed by a chain of fifty poets in fifty languages, and they still would be temporary, untrue, unable to yield the substance of a single image. Prose invents—poetry discloses.
A mad man is talking to himself in the room next to mine. He speaks in prose. Presently I shall go to a bar and there one or two poets will speak to me and I to them and we will try to destroy each other or attract each other or even listen to each other and nothing will happen because we will be speaking in prose. I will go home, drunken and dissatisfied, and sleep—and my dreams will be prose. Even the subconscious is not patient enough for poetry.
You are dead and the dead are very patient.
(All of my favourite poets and playwrights - Chekhov, Lorca, Hughes - are formidable letter writers. I am envious because my correspondence reveals a terrible inconstancy. I cannot make the most of pens and words.)
I have read and loved Federico Garcia Lorca for as long as I can remember - from the time I memorised a short poem for a primary school recital, to my final year in college when my inspiring Spanish teacher allowed me to dive deep into the moonlit waters of his world. Since then I have also directed a few of his plays, painted works inspired by his poems, and played his songs on guitar and piano.
In 1998 I travelled around Spain with the sole purpose of visiting the sites of Lorca’s life, and to experience the wonderful celebrations for the centenary of his birth. From the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid where Lorca spent time as a law student, to the beaches and coves of Cadaques where he fell in love with Salvador Dali, from the ruins of Burgos where he discovered the true meaning of Romanticism, to the southern badlands of the Alpujarras, where he encountered the Andalusian duende, the whole of Spain speaks of Lorca. But Lorca is truly inextricable from Granada, a city one experiences and remembers with all five senses. And so our days here were filled with music, words, places, perfumes, tastes and textures that reminded me of his many creations.
During our visit this time I came upon various writings and conversations about the thorny issue of the search for Lorca’s grave - encouraged by historians, intellectuals, artists aligned with the left, but opposed by Fascist apologists and the right, and also, oddly, by his own family and heirs, who appear to be unconcerned with discovering what exactly happened to him, and where his bones might lie. The mystery surrounding the whereabouts of his remains has spawned conspiracy theories, political rows and local outrage, all well documented in this New Yorker article and on El Pais by Ian Gibson, probably the most knowledgeable and authoritative Lorca biographer in the world.
A couple of days ago we drove out to the hills of Alfacar. There, on 18th August 1936 at dawn, Garcia Lorca was shot in the head from behind by an execution squad made up of professional Falangistas, amateur assassins, and teenage gravediggers.
We arrived there at twilight, and found the place arresting in that harsh, Spanish way. It’s a place out of a Lorca poem: there are olive trees, pines, rocks, and a lot of water; it’s just a few hundred meters away from Fuente Grande, the natural spring of water that runs down the ancient conduits to the Alhambra. It’s a terribly beautiful place to die.
We were told that many people in Spain still find it difficult and inappropriate to talk about Lorca’s death, whether because of his politics, or his sexuality or his envied international success. This is part of a larger political discussion about the memory of the Spanish Civil War: some people think Spain should leave the past behind and forget it all, some people think the only way to live in the present is to take a serious look at the past.
Our visit to Alfacar confirmed a great institutional resistance against such matters, or at least a rather ambiguous attitude towards historical memory. There is little in the way of memorials in a site where about 4000 people are believed to have been shot and buried in mass graves in the Barranco de Viznar, right next to the presumed spot where Garcia Lorca was one of the first people to suffer that fate. What little there is is fairly vague: “In memory of the victims of the Spanish Civil War” says one plaque, and “it is thought that the poet F. Garcia Lorca spent his final moments in a site near here” recites another - a chillingly soft way to tell the story of an execution. The memorial park, named after the poet, is artificial and pretentious - from what I know and imagine about him I’m sure he wouldn’t like it. All that is placed there in his memory is a few select quotes from what must have been a sanitised school edition of his Greatest Hits.
Today is the 75th anniversary of Federico Garcia Lorca’s death. As someone who loves his work it does matter to me where his bones are, and I think everything possible should be done to retrieve them, so that a man may be finally put to rest, and that his memory and the larger history surrounding his death may be dignified. In Alfacar the landscape screams lines form his poems, the wind sings his words, the earth cries out to be liberated. I felt an infinite sadness and pain, but also his presence, everywhere.