Frederico García Lorca: Abandoned Church (Ballad of the Great War)
Spanish poet and dramatist, Lorca was a talented artist and a member of the ‘Generation of 1927’, a group of writers who advocated avant-gardism in literature. García Lorca read law at the University of Granada. At the same time he studied music collaborating in the 1920s with Manuel de Falla, becoming an expert pianist and … Continued
Spanish poet and dramatist, Lorca was a talented artist and a member of the ‘Generation of 1927’, a group of writers who advocated avant-gardism in literature.
García Lorca read law at the University of Granada. At the same time he studied music collaborating in the 1920s with Manuel de Falla, becoming an expert pianist and guitar player. In Madrid he entered the Residence de Estudiantes, a modern college and the intellectual center of the town. During this period his friends included the writers Juan Ramón Jiménez. and Pablo Neruda. He also worked with Salvador Dali and Louis Bunuel in different productions. When the two made their notorious short film Un Chien Andalou (1928), García Lorca was offended: he thought that the film was about him.
Through recitals of his poetry García Lorca became known even before the publication of his first collection. As a writer García Lorca made his debut with ‘Libro De Poemas’ (1921), a collection of fablelike poems. In 1923 García Lorca earned a degree in law, but the turning point in his literary career was folk music festival Fiesta de Cante Jondo in 1922, where he found inspiration for his work from the traditions of folk and gypsy music.
In 1927 García Lorca gained fame with his romantic historical play arina Pineda where the scenery was constructed by Salavador Dali and the distinguished actress Margarita Xirgu played the heroine. By 1928, with the publication of RIMER ROMANCERO GITANO he was the best-known of all Spanish poets, and leading member of the ‘Generation of 27’, which included Luis Cernuda, Jorge Guillen, Pedro Salinas, Rafael Alberti and others.
In 1929-30 García Lorca lived in the city of New York, on the campus of Columbia University. Unable to speak English he suffered a deep culture shock. His suicidal mood was recorded in posthumously published OETA EN NUEVA YORK(1940, Poet in New York), in which he praised Walt Whitman. The poet condemns the frightening, physically and spiritually corrupted city, and escapes to Havana to experience the harmony of a more primitive life.
After a short visit to Cuba, García Lorca was back in Spain by 1931, and continued with theatre productions. He became the head the traveling theatrical company, La Barraca, which brought classical plays and other dramas to the provinces. After the death of his friend, a bullfighter, García Lorca wrote ament for the Death of a Bullfighter(1935), which has been regarded by most critics as his greatest poem. The work is divided into four sections, whose individual motifs are weaved together. The figure of one man facing death in the bullring, exemplified by his friend Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, expressed the author’s tragic sense of death. Mejías himself had written a play and he was well-known in the literary circles.
García Lorca’s central themes in his works are love, pride, passion and violent death, which also marked his own life. The Spanish Civil War began in 1936 and García Lorca was seen by the right-wing forces as an enemy. The author hid from the soldiers but he was soon found, dragged from a friend’s house, and shot in Granada on August 19/20 of 1936 without trial by the Nationalists. The circumstances of his death are still shrouded in mystery. He was buried in a grave that he had been forced to dig for himself.
I’d a son named John, I’d a son. He was lost in the arches on a death day in Friday. I saw him at play on the uppermost stair of the Mass, launching a little tin scoop at the heart of the priest. I knocked on the coffin lids. Son! Oh, my son! From the other side of the moon I pulled up a chicken claw, and knew I’d a fish for a daughter, in the place where the wagons recede. I’d a daughter. I’d a dead fish in the ash of the censers. I’d an ocean. What made of? Good lord–just an ocean! I climbed up to ring all the bells, but found the fruit wormy and smothering match ends had eaten spring wheat. The transparent alcohol stork, then I saw, trimming the blackening skulls of the dying recruits; cabins of rubber where circled the goblets of tears. Dear heart–let me find you in Eurcharist’s gift of anemones when the priest with the might of his arms lifts the ox and the ass to frighten the night toad that paces the chalice’s snowscapes. I’d a son, I’d a giant, but the dead are the mightiest, they can rend bits of heaven. Had my son been a bear, I would never have feared for the crocodile’s secret nor gazed at a tree-tethered sea to be ravished and bled by a rabble of troops. Had my son been a bear! I’ll wrap in coarse canvas, nor endure the cold mosses. I know, with good cause, that they’ll send me a shirtsleeve or necktie, but I’ll smash, on the core of the Mass, the rudder post; then the madness of penguins and seagulls will come down on the stone and give words to the sleepers and those who intone on the street corners” he’d a son! He’d a son! He’d a son! He’d a son! his, and no other’s for, for his son was his own! He’d a son! He’d a son! He’d a son!
The Voices Education Project offers tools, philosophies, and learning methods that will help young people understand the roots of conflict and the trauma of war, confront the pain and fear at the heart of conflict, and help to build healthy human communities in the wake of war. We use the arts and education to transform the consciousness of young people, give teachers and students a way to explore the most important and terrifying issues of our day, and create a dialogue in which all voices can be heard, and all points of view included, without engendering fear, hatred, or anger.