The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 17, 1961, Page Page 4, Image 4

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    The Nebroskon
Tuesdoy, Jon. 17, 1961
Federico Garcia
Lorca . .
poet in translation
Poge 4
One of the phenomena of the t wentieth
century literary world is Federico Garcia Lorca.
In recent years there have been numerous
translations of his writings. In less than twenty
five years after his death be has become a
legendary figure in modern Spanish literature.
There is no doubt that some of bis early popu
larity was due to his untimely and tragic death
by a Falangist firing squad during the holo
caust that broke out in Spain on July 17, 133R.
But toe time has passed when his popularity can
be based solely on the fact that his death made
him an individual symbol of the tragedy of
Spain. The quality of his literary production has
justified his popularity. Even if we put aside
his plays in which he touches greatness, he still
stands above most of his contemporaries.
He is no longer a show piece for communism,
tor if be were, he would have long ago been re
jected by the non-communist world. He was a
Catholic and a member of a rich family who
were land-owners. He came to his audience free
of any connection with any political organixa
taoos, or peculiar system of opinions. He was
singer of songs deeply fused with the tradition
of the people of Andalusia, and he brought to
the rich folklore of bis native Granada, the in
tellectual standards of his period. He is the
most Spanish and roost provincial of contem
porary Spanish poets, both in and out of Spain.
His universal appeal, therefore, must be traced
to the desire of do wn to-eart h human beings
for the simplicity, the real, and the immediate
values which are to be found in bis poetry. The
average reader of Lorca finds that his poetry
is from and of the earth, which makes it pos
mMe for the significance and mysticism of
poetry to be deciphered.
Federico Garcia Lorca was bora at Fueote
Vaqueros. Granada, on June 5, 1239. He was
disqualified from active participation in the
normal equestrian and cattle activities of his
Jocerra W. Barrowes Is a graduate student
majorat m Eagush. His traasbawa of the
pcm, "Oda A Roosevelt," by Rabea Dario, is
n tbe cwrect issue of the "Prairie Schooner."
Barrewe's poem, "LwelgfeV wiD be pvbSsbec"
ia the 1X1 cditioa of "America Sisgt," the aa
faokgy of OS National Poetry Association.
by a crippling disease which de
layed Ms development. Because of this, be came
under the influence of Ms mother, a school
teacher, who early developed his artistic and
human serassbiffiLies- His first companions were
plarts, awmalls. and insects with whom be car
ried m conversations in moments of loneliness.
He developed a love of song, music, dance, and
verse. He was exposed from youth to the writ
ing of such literary giants as Plato. Aristotle,
Cervantes. San Juan de la Cruz. Santa Teresa, -Lope
de Vega, CalkSeroo, Gomgora and others.
Lorca grew up in Granada, the old Moorish
capital of Spain, with its wandering gypsies,
t&ear sorogs. the many minute streams among
cixxxMnc gardens, and in a rkh tradition, of
foCkitere. He did not have to look for a tradition
to write in. It was coastasjtly around him. ft
experiences durmg cbJldSaood and adolescence,
were to develop his sensitive literary qualities
as a poet. With this background, Lorca left
Granada for Madrid and a university career m
the sprang of ISIS.
To Italy understand Lorca poetry we nrnst
first have an understaraiiBg of tbe Lterary tra
itaaa of Amdateia. and of the Spanish ba3ad
or romance, which began with the cominon peo
pOe and was later developed into m art by am
bmJatory Mk sjeers and poets. Andalusia has
a popular tradataon of guitar piayiEg, love of
ritual assd ceremocy, a delist in cotor and
nmremeaHix, hsramzy and sound, and most of
all. a love of the spc-kea word, which if devel
oped in the totaEa, or evesicg party. Andahv
mtan baladeers oftea move from place to pSace
redting. singing, end letting tales for a fee. Ia
eiYJ&-ceatarj Ao&stoia, Arabic poett de-
veloped the rasida, which is a cross between a
lyric and an epigram. In conciseness, freshness,
and beauty, the easida rivals the epigrams of
the Greek Anthology. Casktas differ from the
classical epigrams, however, in being more dar
ing and fanciful.
The Spanish ballad form developed with the
rasida and is today the richest form to be found
in Spanish literature. The composition of ballads
has continued from the Middle Age to pres
ent day. Most ballads are usually written in the
octosyllabic line with a stress on the seventh
syllable of each line, the even line assoaancbig,
and the uneven lines being loose or free. Other
ballads may incorporate various meters for
the sheer novelty of rhythm. The Spanish bal
lad, like the English border ballads, has lived
on the lips of the common people for centuries
and has its roots in the epic narrative poems
which celebrated the exploits of war, love, cele
brations, games, passions, patriotism, and so
forth. Much of the appeal of most ballads is de
rived from their being essentially dramatic.
Underlying most ballads is the lyric element
which has brought fame to many ballads as it
breaks through narrative objectivity, some
times with force, without giving any indication
that it is a part of the whole. Different methods
are used to heighten the emotional experience.
One of these methods is the use of repetition
which may be twofold or threefold:
Green river, Greea river!
Of christians, and of Moors
And your cry st aline waves
Between christians and Moors.
Fonte-frida, fonte-frida, fonte-frida
and with love
Another device is parallelism which usually in
volves repetition, but which lays emphasis oa
some fact or story while working up the reader
to state of emotion.
Ia CastiEa there is a castle.
That they can Rocafrida,
The castle they caDed Roea
And the fountain they called frida.
A third device may be a refrain which may vary
from a meaningless phrase such as "hi-diddSe-daddte"
to the repetition of feminine names.
Three Moorish girls love me
in Jaen;
Axa, Fatima and Maries.
Three Moorish girls so lovely
went to pack olives
ia Jaen;
and found them plucked:
Axa. Fatima and Mariea.
And Ceding them plucked,
m Jaen
they returned and fainted
and lost their reason:
Axa, aod Fatima and Marien.
Three Moorish girls so rascy,
three Moorish girls so lusty
went to pick apples
In Jaen:
Axa and Fatima and Maries.
The ballad tradition of Spain serves a twofold
purpose. It provides all Spanish poets the means
of commuajcatisg wan the common man and
the elite by making possible the fusing of iatet
kctoal ideas in the ballad form. It makes it un
necessary for Spanish poets to be always sys
tem buMasg. UoLke some otter combines,
where poetry is easily divorced from the people
as the L'erary petSfiifem swings front school to
school, the baSad tradition ia Spara remains as
a constant source for new poets.
The nam aspects of the Spanish lyric trad
rjoo w&Jch fmd a new culmination ia Lorca'
wort arc the medieval Arabic-ABdaSasian out
look of amorous poetry, together with the earty
popdsr ballad, or recsssoe, cod tbe broad body
of Andalusian gypsy art known as Cante Joado,
or "deep song."
Madrid of 1919 was in a literary ferment. The
"ultraista" movement had declared war on the
influence of Ruben Dano and his theory of el
arte por el arte and the "generation of 'ninety
eight" was advocating pure poetry. Lorca lived
at the Student Residence while studying in
Madrid. He is remembered by bis fellow stu
dents, not as a scholar dedicated to his books,
but as a lover of developing his artistic quali
ties, such as playing the piano, writing poems,
reciting, and tefiing stories of provincial life
in his home town.
In 1921 he published his first collection of
poems called Libra de psemas. This book is
filled with the freshness and optimism of the
young poet before he is embittered by tbe world.
Libra de poem as reveals the animal world as
seen through the eyes of a child but with the
retrospection of an adult. The sentimental tone
of adolescence is prominent in most of these
early poems. Tbe following are two examples:
Mj heart is a butterfly,
good children of tbe field!
which caught by the grey spider of time
has the fatal poQea of disillusion.
LLUYL (Rain)
Rainy evening in tired grey,
and progress goes oa.
Tbe withered trees.
My room, lonely,
and the old pictures
and the uncut book ...
Sadness falls around the furniture
and around my soul.
The theme of maternal frustration is devtoped
in Caacwa del narMj sec, (Song of the Dry
Orange Tree.)
Cut away my shadow
Free me from the anguish
of seeing myself without grapefruits.
Why was I born between mirrors?
Tbe day makes me dizzy.
And night copies me
in all its stars
I want to live without seeing myself.
And ants and burrs,
I will dream are my
leaves and my birds.
Cut away my shadow.
Free me from the anguish
of seeing myself without grapefruits,
libra de poemas was a preview of the develop
log artist. In this book we find many t&eme.
Some are treated with force:
Hospieio (Asylum)
And tbe poor stars
those that have no Ight. '
What pain
what pain
what pity!
they are abandoned
on a confused blue
What pain
what pain
what pity!
C&er fhemes are treated simply:
He nanus of tbe breeze
caresm the face of space
ose time
and another time.
Tbe stars half -open
their bJoe eyes
ae time and toother time.
(Pleat See Pz Sa)