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Federico Garcia Lorca




           Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), Spain's greatest modern poet and playwright, was born June 5, 1898 at Fuentevaqueros in the Spanish province of Granada. He began writing poems in his late teens, reciting many of them in the local cafes. In 1919 he left to study law at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid. There he met and became friends with film director Luis Bunuel and painter Salvador Dali, among other Spanish notables of his generation.
Lorca came to national prominence in 1927 when his play Mariana Pineda was first staged. His initial book of poems Gypsy Ballads was published the following year. During a trip abroad, which also took him to England and Cuba, Lorca spent nine months in New York City beginning in June of 1929. His poems of that period were later collected in the volume entitled Poet In New York.

          In 1931 Spain became a Republic which gave hope to many, Lorca included, that Spain's standard of living would be improved, its lliteracy reduced and its culture more widely disseminated. Lorca became director of a student theater company which toured small villages and in the face of harassment by Fascist partisans presented the Spanish classics to the peasants.

          His first great play, the rural tragedy Blood Wedding, was staged in 1933. It was immensely popular in Spain and in Argentina which he visited late that year. In 1935 he presented his second village tragedy, Yerma, and completed his third, La Casa de Bernardo Alba.

          Lorca spent much of early 1936 preparing Divan Del Tamarit, a cycle of poems written in tribute to Granada's old Arab poets whom he had read in translation. In July, shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, he went to vacation in Granada which had fallen to the fascists on the first day of the conflict.

          Although he had no political affiliations Lorca was known to be a friend of left-wing intellectuals and an advocate of liberty. Apparently this was enough of an indictment for those Falangists who arrested him on August 16th. On or about August 18, 1936 Federico Garcia Lorca, along with a white-haired schoolmaster and two anarchist bullfighters, was driven to the village of Viznar at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There at dawn they were executed by a right-wing firing squad. Although his remains are presumed to lie with those of hundreds of fellow victims in a shallow trench among the grove of olive trees adjacent to the Fuente Grande spring, the actual whereabouts of Lorca's grave are unknown to this day.

 

 

--Rick Klaus Theis, 8/18/97

 

 

LINKS

The García Lorca Foundation
An organisation dedicated to the dissemination of the works of the poet and dramatist.
Mundo Latino
Poems of García Lorca available on-line.
Federico García Lorca On-Line
Biographical information about Lorca

 

 

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