[Marxism] Federico Carcia Lorca Lorca in his Cuban period

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Wed Aug 23 05:15:45 MDT 2006

(Here is a recent Granma article, as well as another on the 
Spanish poet from the monthly youth magazine Somos Jovenes. 

(I did not know until this that Lorca was gay. In the recent
period, there's been a large amount of material in Cuba's 
media about Spain and its fascist part, including the role
of Cuban participants in the international brigades which
fought the Spanish fascists during the Civil War there.)

August 20, 2006
Lorca in his Cuban period 


A CubaNews translation by And Portela. 
Edited by Walter Lippmann

>From March 7 to June 12, 1930, the Spanish playwright and poet,
Federico Garcia Lorca lived in Cuba. He had arrived in Havana invited
by the scholar Fernando Ortiz, then president of the
Hispanic-American Institute of Culture.

Ortiz was in New York in March with his project to study the Blacks
of Harlem. There the Spanish intellectuals Federico de Onís and
Fernando de los Ríos (university professors at Columbia University)
introduced him to the poet.

Ortiz invited him to give lectures the Island and Garcia Lorca left
New York, by train, to Tampa and on March 6 boarded the ferry, Cuba
that docked in Havana the following day. He was received by his
friends, José María Chacón y Calvo, Rafael Suárez Solís, Félix Lizaso
and Santiago Guardiola who was the administrator of the
Hispanic-American Institute of Culture.

During his time in Cuba, Lorca appeared in the Teatro Principal de la
Comedia, offering five conferences: one in Sagua la Grande, another
in Caibarien, two in Cienfuegos and one in Santiago de Cuba.

On Sunday, March 9, the author of El publico was presented to the
members of the institute headed by Ortiz. There he spoke of “The
mechanics of poesy”, a subject he would also offer in Sagua la Grande
and Cienfuegos. In Havana where he was welcomed by important
personalities, he was offer discourse later on the poetry of
Gongorism of the XVII century, of Pedro Soto de Rojas, Spanish
lullabies, the poetic image of Luis de Gongora and the cante jondo
(flamenco). His presence sparked so much interest that members of the
culture institute requested Juan Marinello (substitute of Ortiz in
his functions) to count on the writer.

The family of Lorca guarded with true care, the documents of the
poet, even the most insignificant, even before being killed. Among
these is a train ticket of the Ferrocarriles Consolidados de Cuba
punched on the date of his departure from Havana to Santiago de Cuba,
on May 31, 1930.

Dr. Max Henríquez Ureña, branch president, received him at the
stations. As told by Camila Henríquez Ureña, her brother, Max, took
him to his home in Vista Alegre for his father, doctor Francisco
Henríquez y Carvajal, to care for him because Federico was not
feeling very well.

Max, who was at the time the director of the Escuela Normal para
Maestros de Oriente (Teacher’s school), prepared two halls and one
salon where the author of Mariana Pineda spoke on “the mechanics of
poetry”. Max made the presentation of the speaker.

It has been considered that the poet arrived in Santiago on the 31st
because he delivered the conference on the 1st or 2nd of June since
he arrived in Santa Clara from Santiago on the 3rd. The goblin had
disappeared since some affirmed that Lorca had arrived in Santiago
“in a carriage of black waters”. The myth had concluded.

Of where Federico wrote his famous son still has contradictory
versions. Antonio Quevedo and María Muñoz who published it for the
first time in the journal, Musicalia, in April 1930, said he had
composed it in Havana and dedicated it to Fernando Ortiz.

This son has immortalized its author since it has traveled around the
world due to its cadence, its Cuban rhythm, his peculiar style. It
symbolized the inspiration of the poet for the Caribbean island that
he loved.

According to Ian Gibson, a Lorca biographer, the poet was shot on the
morning of August 18, 1936 in Fuente Grande, between Viznar and
Alfacer, Granada. Federico Garcia Lorca is part of the vanguard of
the XX century. The fascists assassinated him with malice because he
was always on the side of the Spanish people.

The immortality of Federico García Lorca

By: Teresa Torres


One of the highest voices of poetry in the spansh language.

Practically at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War of 1936, the
Phalange shot Frederico Garcia Lorca at the foot of an olive tree in
Granada – it had shot one of the most popular poets of the Spanish
language. Several poems, his open homosexuality and the signing of
the Manifesto in favor of the Popular Front that won the elections
that year garnered hi the hatred of the assassins.

The son of a landowner and a teacher who taught him to play the piano
from childhood, the playwright was born in 1898 in Fuente Vaqueros
(Granada, Spain); he studied with the Jesuits and tried to graduate
Law in the university that he abandoned to dedicate his life to
literature, painting and music.

Between 1919 and 1928, Lorca lived in a student’s residence in Madrid
that was an important center for cultural exchanges where he
established friendship with the painter Salvador Dali, the filmmaker,
Luis Buñuel and the poet Rafael Alberti, among others who he
captivated with his talent. He traveled to New York and Cuba in from
1929 to 1930 returning later to Spain and wrote plays that earned him
fame. His first poems were published in “The book of poems” (1921); a
year later he organized the first festival of cante jondo with Manuel
de Falla and that same year wrote the ”Poem of cante jondo” although
it was not published until 1931.

The “Primer romancero Gitano” (the first gypsy ballads) (1928) is a
great example of poetry based on popular material offering a mythical
Andalusia through dazzling metaphors and symbols like the moon,
colors, horses, water or fish to transmit sensations that strongly
stress love and death. The popular poet found, in the art of the
people, an answer to the desolation of modern Andalusian and Gypsy
life who lived on the edge of a society and conserved their dances
and songs, in a constant battle with the representatives of order.

After his “Poemas en prosa” (Poems in prose) the author made a cycle
of conferences in New York where he comes out in favor of the
oppressed not withholding his intimate obsessions. Classified by many
as a surrealist, his verses in “A poet in New York” express the
horror of a loss of natural roots, an absence of a unifying mythology
or a collective dream to give reason to an impersonal society,
violent and heartrending.

Lorca is facing a city and society made of steel and finances that
crumbles in the great collapse of capitalism. For the poet, New York
is an infernal symbol of the XX century, “a crushing machine of
conscience, devourer of the being 
where no one seems to be and where
one day will be upside down: Qué esfuerzo!/ ¡Qué esfuerzo del caballo
por ser perro!/ Qué esfuerzo del perro por ser golondrina!/ ¡Qué
esfuerzo de la golondrina por ser abeja!/ ¡Qué esfuerzo de la abeja
por ser caballo!... Un día / los caballos vivirán en las tabernas / y
las hormigas furiosas / atacarán los cielos amarillos que se refugian
en los ojos de/las vacas”. (What effort/what effort of the horse for
its dog/what effort of the dog to be a swallow/What effort for the
swallow to be a bee? What effort for the bee to be a horse!
day/the horses will live in the taverns/and the furious ants/will
attack the yellow skies that are hidden in the eyes/of the cows”.

Love, death and infancy, just like Spanish traditions were also
recurrent subject in the work of the poet, image of a marked creative
capacity, of a power of synthesis and a natural ability to capture,
express and combine the highest sum of poetic resonance without
apparent effort. Frederico Garcia Lorca is perhaps the most famous
Spanish poet and playwright of the XX century and one of its supreme

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