I've been trying to find information about Garcia Lorca, but haven't really found a good translation for his poetry. I'd appreciate any suggestions. Apart from writing poetry, he was also an active playwright, actor and artist. (I even have found three short pieces for guitar on an album.) Anyway, here's what I got by googling:
Federico García Lorca (5 June 1898 – 19 August 1936) was a Spanish poet, dramatist and theatre director. An emblematic member of the Generation of '27, he was abducted and murdered by persons likely affiliated with the Nationalist cause at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. A Spanish judge has opened an investigation of Garcia Lorca's death, among the many others executed and disappeared, as a crime against humanity during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco years.
Born into a family of minor, but wealthy, landowners in the small village of Fuente Vaqueros
, García Lorca was a precocious child, although he did not excel at school. In 1909, his father moved the family to the city of Granada
where in time he became deeply involved in local artistic circles. His first collection of prose pieces, Impresiones y paisajes
, was published in 1918 to local acclaim but little commercial success.
Associations made at Granada's Arts Club were to stand him in good stead when he moved in 1919 to the famous Residencia de estudiantes
, where he would befriend Luis Buñuel
and Salvador Dalí
, among many others who were or would become influential artists in Spain. In Madrid he met Gregorio Martínez Sierra
, the Director of Madrid's Teatro Eslava
, at whose invitation he wrote and staged his first play, El maleficio de la mariposa
, in 1919-20. A verse play dramatising the impossible love between a cockroach
and a butterfly
, with a supporting cast of other insects; it was laughed off stage by an unappreciative public after only four performances and influenced García Lorca's attitude to the theatre-going public for the rest of his career. He would later claim that 1927's Mariana Pineda
was his first play.
Over the next few years García Lorca became increasingly involved in his art and Spain's avant-garde. He published three further collections of poems including Canciones
) and Primer romancero gitano
(1928, translated as Gypsy Ballads
, 1953), his best known book of poetry. His second play Mariana Pineda
, with stage settings by Dalí, opened to great acclaim in Barcelona
Although not shown for the first time until the early 1930s, García Lorca wrote the play The Shoemaker's Prodigious Wife
in 1926, which was a farce about fantasy, based on the relationship between a flirtatious, petulant wife and a henpecked shoemaker.
However, towards the end of the 1920s, García Lorca fell victim to increasing depression
, a situation exacerbated by his anguish over his homosexuality.
In this he was deeply affected by the success of his Romancero gitano
, which increased—through the celebrity it brought him—the painful dichotomy of his life: he was trapped between the persona of the successful author, which he was forced to maintain in public, and the tortured self, which he could only acknowledge in private.
Growing estrangement between García Lorca and his closest friends reached its climax when surrealists
Dalí and Buñuel collaborated on their 1929 film Un chien andalou
(An Andalusian Dog
), which García Lorca interpreted, perhaps erroneously, as a vicious attack on him. The film ended García Lorca's affair with Dalí, along with Dalí meeting his future wife Gala
. At the same time, his intensely passionate but fatally one-sided affair with the sculptor Emilio Aladrén
was collapsing as the latter became involved with his
future wife. Aware of these problems (though not perhaps of their causes), García Lorca's family arranged for him to take a lengthy visit to the United States
While in America, García Lorca stayed mostly in New York City
, where he studied briefly at Columbia University School of General Studies
. His collection of poems Poeta en Nueva York
explores his alienation and isolation through some graphically experimental poetic techniques, and the two plays Así que pasen cinco años
and El público
were far ahead of their time—indeed, El público
was not published until the late 1970s and has never been published in its entirety (the manuscript is lost.)
Great Theater of Havana Garcia Lorca, in Havana
His return to Spain in 1930 coincided with the fall of the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera
and the re-establishment of the Spanish Republic. In 1931, García Lorca was appointed as director of a university student theatre company, Teatro Universitario la Barraca (The Shack). This was funded by the Second Republic's
Ministry of Education, and it was charged with touring Spain's remotest rural areas in order to introduce audiences to radically modern interpretations of classic Spanish theatre. As well as directing, García Lorca also acted. While touring with La Barraca
, he wrote his best-known plays, the 'rural trilogy' of Bodas de sangre
and La casa de Bernarda Alba
. He distilled his theories on artistic creation and performance in a famous lecture "Play and Theory of the Duende", first given in Buenos Aires
in 1933. García Lorca argued that great art depends upon a vivid awareness of death, connection with a nation's soil, and an acknowledgment of the limitations of reason. 
The group's subsidy was cut in half by the new government in 1934, and la Barraca'
s last performance was in April 1936.
Statue of García Lorca in Madrid's Plaza de Santa Ana
García Lorca left Madrid for Granada only three days before the Civil War broke out, when the Spanish political and social climate, - just after the murder of José Calvo Sotelo
, - became unbearable. He was aware that he was certainly heading towards a city reputed to have the most conservative oligarchy in Andalucía
. After the war broke out, García Lorca and his brother-in-law, the socialist mayor of Granada, were soon arrested. García Lorca was killed, shot by Nationalist militia on 19 August 1936
. He was thrown into an unmarked grave somewhere between Víznar
, near Granada. Significant controversy remains about the motives and details of his death. Personal non-political motives have also been suggested. García Lorca's biographer, Stainton, states that his killers had made remarks about his sexuality, suggesting that it played a role. Ian Gibson
states that García Lorca´s assassination was part of a campaign of mass executions directed to eliminate all the supporters of the Popular Front
However, Lorca was apolitical and it is indisputable that Lorca had friends in both Republican and Nationalist camps. The Basque poet and Communist Gabriel Celaya wrote in his Memoirs that he once found Lorca in the company of Falangist José Maria Aizpurua and that Lorca told him that he dined with Falangist leader, José Antonio Primo de Riviera, in whose company Celaya had once found him previously, every Friday.
The dossier on the murder, compiled at Franco's request, has yet to surface.
The olive tree near Alfacar
, where García Lorca was shot, as it was in 1999. Many people have left quotations from his works in its branches.
", p.48) describes how García Lorca "foretold his own fate in a remarkable instance of a (typically Spanish) type of mysticism: Then I realised I had been murdered They looked for me in cafes, cemeteries and churches .... but they did not find me. They never found me? No. They never found me.
regime placed a general ban on García Lorca's work, which was not rescinded until 1953 when a (censored) Obras completas
) was released. Following this, Bodas de sangre
and La casa de Bernarda Alba
were successfully played in the main Spanish stages.
That Obras Completas
did not include his late heavily homoerotic Sonnets of Dark Love
, written in November 1935 and read only for close friends — these were lost until 1983/4 when they were finally published in draft form (no final manuscripts have ever been found.) It was only after Franco
's death in 1975 that García Lorca's life and death could be openly discussed in Spain. This was due not only to political censorship but also to the reluctance of the Garcia Lorca family to allow publication of unfinished poems and plays prior to the publication of a critical edition of his works.
In 1968, Joan Baez
sang translated renditions of García Lorca's poems, "Gacela Of The Dark Death" and "Casida of the Lament" on her spoken-word poetry album, Baptism
In 1986, Leonard Cohen
's English translation of the poem "Pequeño vals vienés" by García Lorca reached #1 in the Spanish single charts (as "Take This Waltz", music by Cohen). Cohen has described García Lorca as being his idol in his youth, and named his daughter Lorca Cohen for that reason.
The Spanish Poet, Antonio Machado, wrote the poem "El crimen fue en Granada", in reference to García Lorca's death.
Today, García Lorca is honored by a statue
prominently located in Madrid's Plaza de Santa Ana. Political philosopher David Crocker
reports that "the statue, at least, is still an emblem of the contested past: each day, the Left puts a red kerchief on the neck of the statue, and someone from the Right comes later to take it off."
A forward-looking Foundation, directed by niece Laura Garcia Lorca, has sponsored an array of cultural events together with the Huerta de San Vicente.
Although Lorca has received much attention in many aspects of his creative venues, one of them has been neglected in common discussions; Art. As stated by Lorca himself in many lectures and interviews and captured on page 46 of Cecilia J. Cavanaugh's book, "Lorca's Drawinigs And Poems","The poet must be a professor of the five senses in this order; Sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste." To master literature it is logical that one must have critical observation skills, however Lorca was more likely hinting at the necessity for a poet to not only lyrically express thoughts but also visually.
383 drawings have been cataloged in a book by Mario Hernandez which can be found translated under the title "Line of Light and Shadow" by Christopher Maurer. The drawings in Line of Light and Shadow are arranged chronologically (by date of creation). Lorca's ink Drawing titled ""Self Portrait in New York"
captures the contrasting elements of the man made city and nature, where Lorca is found as the central figure, surrounded by three four legged animals (Dogs?) and a bucking horse.
- Greek poet Nikos Kavvadias's poem "Federico García Lorca", in Kavvadias' Marabu collection, is dedicated to the memory of García Lorca and juxtaposes his death with the mini-holocaust of the village of Distomo, Greece, where the Nazis executed over two hundred people.
- American poet Allen Ginsberg's hallucinatory poem 'A Supermarket in California' includes García Lorca: "and you, García Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?".
- Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti also wrote a poem about García Lorca in 1937 under the title 'Federico García Lorca'.
- Spanish language poet Giannina Braschi of New York wrote a treatise on Federico García Lorca entitled, "Breve tratado del poeta artista" (Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, 1986). She later published "El imperio de los suenos," as a poetic homage to Poet in New York (first edition: Anthropos editorial del hombre, 1988; second edition Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico).
- Poet Charles Bukowski refers to García Lorca in several of his poems including Junk, To Weep and again in the poem Style which was written for a film based on his poetry, Tales of Ordinary Madness and directed by Marco Ferreri.
[A Manuel de Falla]
- Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas composed Homenaje a Federico García Lorca (a 3 movement work for chamber orchestra) shortly after García Lorca's death, performing the work in Spain during 1937.
- The Italian avantgarde composer Luigi Nono wrote a composition in 1953 entitled 'Epitaffio per Federico García Lorca'.
- García Lorca is mentioned in The Clash song 'Spanish Bombs' from their London Calling album in the lines "Oh please leave the ventana open, Federico García Lorca is dead and gone".
- The American composer George Crumb utilizes much of García Lorca's poetry in works such as his Ancient Voices of Children and his four books of Madrigals.
- Composer Osvaldo Golijov and playwright David Henry Hwang wrote the one-act opera Ainadamar ("Fountain of Tears") about the death of García Lorca, recalled years later by his friend the actress Margarita Xirgu, who could not save him. It opened in 2003, with a revised version in 2005. A recording of the work released in 2006 on the Deutsche Grammophon label (Catalog #642902) won the 2007 Grammy awards for Best Classical Contemporary Composition and Best Opera Recording.
- Finnish modernist composer Einojuhani Rautavaara has composed Suite de Lorca ("Lorca-sarja") for a mixed choir to the lyrics of García Lorca's poems Canción de jinete, El grito, La luna asoma and Malagueña (1972).
- Gary Mex Glazner wrote a poem dedicated to García Lorca entitled 'Lorca'.
- Seamus Heaney also referred to García Lorca in Summer 1969 (poem), line 17.
- The Pogues dramatically retell the story of his murder in the song 'Lorca's Novena' on their Hell's Ditch album.
- Reginald Smith Brindle: El Polifemo de Oro quattro frammenti per chitarra
- Composer Dmitri Shostakovich wrote the first two movements of his 14th Symphony based around Garcia Lorca poems.
- The French composer Maurice Ohana set what some regard as Lorca's finest poem - Lament for the death of a Bullfighter (Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias) - to music in a stark, dramatic setting recorded by the famous conductor Atualfo Argenta in the 1950s
Lira cordial de plata refulgente
de duro acento y nervio desatado,
voces y frondas de una España ardiente
con tus manos de amor has dibujado.
En nuestra propia sangre está la fuente,
que tu razón y sueños ha brotado.
Algebra limpia de serena frente.
Disciplina y pasión de lo soñado.
Ocho provincias de la Andalucía,
olivo al aire y a la mar los remos,
cantan, Manuel de Falla, tu alegría.
Con el laurel y flores que ponemos,
amigos de tu casa en este día,
pura amistad sencilla te ofrecemos.
Epitafio a Isaac Albeniz
Esta piedra que vemos levantada
sobre hierbas de muerte y barro oscuro
guarda lira de sombra, sol maduro,
urna de canto sola y derramada.
Desde la sal de Cádiz a Granada,
que erige en agua su perpetuo muro,
en caballo andaluz de acento duro
tu sombra gime por la luz dorada.
¡Oh dulce muerto de pequeña mano!
¡Oh música y bondad entretejida!
¡Oh pupila de azor, corazón sano!
Duerme cielo sin fin, nieve tendida.
Sueña invierno de lumbre, gris verano.
¡Duerme en olvido de tu vieja vida!