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About this poet

Federico García Lorca is one of the most important Spanish poets and dramatists of the twentieth century. He was born June 5, 1898, in Fuente Vaqueros, a small town a few miles from Granada. His father, Federico García Rodríguez, was a landowner, and his mother, Vicenta Lorca Romero, was a teacher.

Lorca published his first book, Impresiones y Viajes, in 1919. That same year, he traveled to Madrid, where he remained for the next decade. His first full-length play, El Maleficio de la mariposa, was produced there in 1920. The next year, he published Libro de poemas, a compilation of poems based on Spanish folklore.

In 1922, Lorca and the composer Manuel de Falla organized the first cante jondo, or “deep song,” festival in Granada; the deep song form permeated his poems of the early 1920s. During this period, Lorca also 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 poetry collection Romancero Gitano brought Lorca far-reaching fame; it was reprinted seven times during his lifetime.
 
In 1929 and 1930, Lorca traveled to New York City and Cuba. He returned to Spain in 1930 and, beginning in 1931, toured the country with the theater group La Barraca. He was arrested in Granada on August 16, 1936, near the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. He is believed to have been murdered by Fascist forces on August 18 or 19, 1936.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry
In Search of Duende (New Directions, 1998)
The Poetical Works of Federico García Lorca (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1988)
Impressions and Landscapes (University Press of America, 1987)
Poem of the Deep Song (City Light Books, 1987)
Songs (Duquesne University Press, 1976)
The Ballad of the Spanish Civil Guard (Janus Press, 1974)
Divan and Other Writings (Bonewhistle Press, 1974)
Tree of Song (Unicorn Press, 1971)
Selected Poems (New Directions, 1955)
The Gypsy Ballads (Indiana University Press, 1953)
The Poet in New York (W. W. Norton, 1940)
Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter and Other Poems (Oxford University Press, 1937)


Drama
Ill Tragedies: Blood Wedding, Yerma, Bernarda Alba (New Directions, 1947)
From Lorca’s Theatre: Five Plays of Federico García Lorca (C. Scribner’s Sons, 1941)

 

 

The Old Lizard

In the parched path 
I have seen the good lizard 
(one drop of crocodile) 
meditating. 
With his green frock-coat 
of an abbot of the devil, 
his correct bearing 
and his stiff collar, 
he has the sad air 
of an old professor. 
Those faded eyes 
of a broken artist, 
how they watch the afternoon 
in dismay!

Is this, my friend, 
your twilight constitutional? 
Please use your cane, 
you are very old, Mr. Lizard, 
and the children of the village 
may startle you.
What are you seeking in the path, 
my near-sighted philosopher, 
if the wavering phantasm 
of the parched afternoon 
has broken the horizon? 

Are you seeking the blue alms 
of the moribund heaven? 
A penny of a star? 
Or perhaps 
you've been reading a volume 
of Lamartine, and you relish 
the plateresque trills 
of the birds? 

(You watch the setting sun, 
and your eyes shine, 
oh, dragon of the frogs, 
with a human radiance. 
Ideas, gondolas without oars, 
cross the shadowy 
waters of your 
burnt-out eyes.) 

Have you come looking 
for that lovely lady lizard, 
green as the wheatfields 
of May, 
as the long locks
of sleeping pools, 
who scorned you, and then 
left you in your field? 
Oh, sweet idyll, broken 
among the sweet sedges! 
But, live! What the devil! 
I like you. 
The motto "I oppose 
the serpent" triumphs 
in that grand double chin 
of a Christian archbishop. 

Now the sun has dissolved 
in the cup of the mountains, 
and the flocks 
cloud the roadway. 
It is the hour to depart: 
leave the dry path 
and your meditations. 
You will have time 
to look at the stars 
when the worms are eating you 
at their leisure.


Go home to your house 
by the village, of the crickets! 
Good night, my friend 
Mr. Lizard! 

Now the field is empty, 
the mountains dim, 
the roadway deserted. 
Only, now and again, 
a cuckoo sings in the darkness 
of the poplar trees.

Copyright © 2005 by Federico García Lorca and Lysander Kemp. From The Selected Poems. Reprinted with permission of New Directions Press.

Copyright © 2005 by Federico García Lorca and Lysander Kemp. From The Selected Poems. Reprinted with permission of New Directions Press.

Federico García Lorca

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

by this poet

poem

(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
poem

(Skip to the original poem in Spanish)

Tree, tree
dry and green.

The girl with the pretty face 
is out picking olives. 
The wind, playboy of towers, 
grabs her around the waist. 
Four riders passed by
on Andalusian ponies, 
with blue and green jackets 
and big, dark capes. 
"Come
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