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About this poet

Federico García Lorca is one of the most important Spanish poets and dramatists of the twentieth century. García Lorca was born June 5, 1898, in Fuente Vaqueros, a small town a few miles from Granada. His father owned a farm in the fertile vega surrounding Granada and a comfortable mansion in the heart of the city. His mother, whom Lorca idolized, was a gifted pianist. After graduating from secondary school García Lorca attended Sacred Heart University where he took up law along with regular coursework. His first book, Impresiones y Viajes (1919) was inspired by a trip to Castile with his art class in 1917.

In 1919, García Lorca traveled to Madrid, where he remained for the next fifteen years. Giving up university, he devoted himself entirely to his art. He organized theatrical performances, read his poems in public, and collected old folksongs. During this period García Lorca wrote El Maleficio de la mariposa (1920), a play which caused a great scandal when it was produced. He also wrote Libro de poemas (1921), a compilation of poems based on Spanish folklore. Much of García Lorca's work was infused with popular themes such as Flamenco and Gypsy culture. In 1922, García Lorca organized the first "Cante Jondo" festival in which Spain's most famous "deep song" singers and guitarists participated. The deep song form permeated his poems of the early 1920s. During this period, García Lorca became part of a group of artists known as Generación del 27, which included Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel, who exposed the young poet to surrealism. In 1928, his book of verse, Romancero Gitano ("The Gypsy Ballads"), brought García Lorca far-reaching fame; it was reprinted seven times during his lifetime.

In 1929, García Lorca moved to New York City. The poet's favorite neighborhood was Harlem; he loved African-American spirituals, which reminded him of Spain's "deep songs." In 1930, García Lorca returned to Spain after the proclamation of the Spanish republic and participated in the Second Ordinary Congress of the Federal Union of Hispanic Students in November of 1931. The congress decided to build a "Barraca" in central Madrid in which to produce important plays for the public. "La Barraca," the traveling theater company that resulted, toured many Spanish towns, villages, and cities performing Spanish classics on public squares. Some of García Lorca's own plays, including his three great tragedies Bodas de sangre (1933), Yerma (1934), and La Casa de Bernarda Alba (1936), were also produced by the company.

In 1936, García Lorca was staying at Callejones de García, his country home, at the outbreak of the Civil War. He was arrested by Franquist soldiers, and on August 19, after a few days in jail, soldiers took García Lorca to "visit" his brother-in-law, Manuel Fernandez Montesinos, the Socialist ex-mayor of Granada whom the soldiers had murdered and dragged through the streets. When they arrived at the cemetery, the soldiers forced García Lorca from the car. They struck him with the butts of their rifles and riddled his body with bullets. His books were burned in Granada's Plaza del Carmen and were soon banned from Franco's Spain. To this day, no one knows where the body of Federico García Lorca rests.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry

In Search of Duende (1998)
Selected Poems (1941)
Canciones (1927)
Poeta en Nueva York ("Poet in New York") (1940)
Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter and Other Poems (1937)
Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias (1935)
El poema del Cante Jondo (1932)
Romancero Gitano ("The Gypsy Ballads") (1928)
Libro de poemas (1921)
Impresiones y viajes (1918)

Drama

The Comedies (1955)
La casa de Bernarda Alba ("The House of Bernarda Alba") (1936)
Yerma (1934)
Bodas de sangre ("Blood Wedding") (1933)
Amor de Don Perlimplin con Belisa en su jardin (1931)
La zapatera prodigiosa ("The Shoemaker's Marvelous Wife") (1930)
Mariana Pineda (1927)
El malificio de la mariposa (1920)




 

Romance Sonambulo

Federico García Lorca, 1898 - 1936

(skip to the original poem in Spanish)

Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea
and the horse on the mountain. 
With the shade around her waist 
she dreams on her balcony, 
green flesh, her hair green, 
with eyes of cold silver. 
Green, how I want you green. 
Under the gypsy moon, 
all things are watching her 
and she cannot see them.

Green, how I want you green. 
Big hoarfrost stars 
come with the fish of shadow 
that opens the road of dawn. 
The fig tree rubs its wind 
with the sandpaper of its branches, 
and the forest, cunning cat, 
bristles its brittle fibers. 
But who will come? And from where? 
She is still on her balcony 
green flesh, her hair green, 
dreaming in the bitter sea.

--My friend, I want to trade 
my horse for her house, 
my saddle for her mirror, 
my knife for her blanket. 
My friend, I come bleeding 
from the gates of Cabra.
--If it were possible, my boy, 
I'd help you fix that trade. 
But now I am not I, 
nor is my house now my house.
--My friend, I want to die
decently in my bed. 
Of iron, if that's possible, 
with blankets of fine chambray. 
Don't you see the wound I have 
from my chest up to my throat?
--Your white shirt has grown 
thirsty dark brown roses. 
Your blood oozes and flees a
round the corners of your sash. 
But now I am not I, 
nor is my house now my house.
--Let me climb up, at least, 
up to the high balconies; 
Let me climb up! Let me, 
up to the green balconies. 
Railings of the moon 
through which the water rumbles.

Now the two friends climb up, 
up to the high balconies.
Leaving a trail of blood. 
Leaving a trail of teardrops. 
Tin bell vines
were trembling on the roofs.
A thousand crystal tambourines 
struck at the dawn light.

Green, how I want you green, 
green wind, green branches. 
The two friends climbed up. 
The stiff wind left 
in their mouths, a strange taste 
of bile, of mint, and of basil 
My friend, where is she--tell me--
where is your bitter girl?
How many times she waited for you! 
How many times would she wait for you, 
cool face, black hair, 
on this green balcony! 
Over the mouth of the cistern
the gypsy girl was swinging, 
green flesh, her hair green, 
with eyes of cold silver. 
An icicle of moon
holds her up above the water. 
The night became intimate 
like a little plaza.
Drunken "Guardias Civiles"
were pounding on the door. 
Green, how I want you green. 
Green wind. Green branches. 
The ship out on the sea. 
And the horse on the mountain.

Verde que te quiero verde. 
Verde viento. Verdes ramas. 
El barco sobre la mar 
y el caballo en la montaña. 
Con la sombra en la cintura 
ella sueña en su baranda, 
verde carne, pelo verde, 
con ojos de fría plata. 
Verde que te quiero verde. 
Bajo la luna gitana,
las cosas la están mirando 
y ella no puede mirarlas.
Verde que te quiero verde. 
Grandes estrellas de escarcha 
vienen con el pez de sombra 
que abre el camino del alba. 
La higuera frota su viento 
con la lija de sus ramas, 
y el monte, gato garduño, 
eriza sus pitas agrias.
¿Pero quién vendra? ¿Y por dónde...? 
Ella sigue en su baranda, 
Verde came, pelo verde, 
soñando en la mar amarga.
--Compadre, quiero cambiar
mi caballo por su casa,
mi montura por su espejo,
mi cuchillo per su manta.
Compadre, vengo sangrando,
desde los puertos de Cabra.
--Si yo pudiera, mocito, 
este trato se cerraba. 
Pero yo ya no soy yo, 
ni mi casa es ya mi casa.
--Compadre, quiero morir 
decentemente en mi cama. 
De acero, si puede ser, 
con las sábanas de holanda. 
¿No ves la herida que tengo 
desde el pecho a la garganta?
--Trescientas rosas morenas
lleva tu pechera blanca. 
Tu sangre rezuma y huele 
alrededor de tu faja. 
Pero yo ya no soy yo,
ni mi casa es ya mi casa.
--Dejadme subir al menos 
hasta las altas barandas;
¡dejadme subir!, dejadme, 
hasta las verdes barandas. 
Barandales de la luna 
por donde retumba el agua. 
Ya suben los dos compadres 
hacia las altas barandas. 
Dejando un rastro de sangre. 
Dejando un rastro de lágrimas. 
Temblaban en los tejados
farolillos de hojalata. 
Mil panderos de cristal 
herían la madrugada.
Verde que te quiero verde,
verde viento, verdes ramas. 
Los dos compadres subieron.
El largo viento dejaba 
en la boca un raro gusto
de hiel, de menta y de albahaca.
¡Compadre! ¿Donde está, díme?
¿Donde está tu niña amarga? 
¡Cuántas veces te esperó!
¡Cuántas veces te esperara,
cara fresca, negro pelo, 
en esta verde baranda!
Sobre el rostro del aljibe
se mecía la gitana. 
Verde carne, pelo verde, 
con ojos de fría plata.
Un carámbano de luna 
la sostiene sobre el agua.
La noche se puso íntima 
como una pequeña plaza. 
Guardias civiles borrachos 
en la puerta golpeaban. 
Verde que te qinero verde. 
Verde viento. Verdes ramas. 
El barco sobre la mar. 
Y el caballo en la montaña.

From The Selected Poems of Federico García Lorca, translated by William Logan. Published by New Directions, 1955. Used with permission.

From The Selected Poems of Federico García Lorca, translated by William Logan. Published by New Directions, 1955. Used with permission.

Federico García Lorca

Federico García Lorca is one of the most important Spanish poets and dramatists of the twentieth century.

by this poet

poem
   I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
I want to get far away from the busyness of the cemeteries.
I want to sleep the sleep of that child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.

   I don't want them to tell me again how the corpse keeps all its blood,
how the decaying mouth goes on begging for
poem
The little boy was looking for his voice.
(The king of the crickets had it.)
In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice.

I do not want it for speaking with;
I will make a ring of it
so that he may wear my silence
on his little finger

In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice
poem
In the sky there is nobody asleep.  Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
The creatures of the moon sniff and prowl about their cabins.
The living iguanas will come and bite the men who do not dream,
and the man who rushes out with his spirit broken will meet on the 
            street corner
the unbelievable