Monday, November 29

Nobody bathes twice in the same Lorca | Opinion

Federico García Lorca, portrayed in 1919, at the age of 20.
Federico García Lorca, portrayed in 1919, at the age of 20.Photo12/Universal Images Group / Getty Images

An anniversary as lacerating as that of the 85 years of the crime of Federico García Lorca, on August 18, also encourages a reversal of attention on the current status of his work and on the suggestion of youth and intrepid maturity, which his writing radiates.

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The hyperactive multiplicity of interpretations, appropriations, versions, investigations, angles and refreshing relationships made by his readers, reveals a revitalization that produces effects of creative transmutation, each time that contact with his writing is carried out. But paraphrasing the famous classic, nobody bathes twice in the same Lorca.

“The magical virtue of a poem,” he said in 1933, “is to always be enduendado to baptize with dark water all who look at it ”. Is that what happens when they read, or better when they “look at” —as he puts it — his works? Sight, if anything, as John Berger pointed out, is what establishes our place in the world around us.

Look at the poem, then, do you have that place? Do these verses baptize, place in the world through the anointing of the water of the secret or the painful? In my case, I can say yes, that by looking at Lorca’s poems, plays and prose —including, of course, his epistolary, astonishing for its sense of communication and the state of grace of language— establishes, largely my place in the world.

During my adolescence and, above all, in my first years as a student at the Faculty of Letters of Granada, when my greatest aspiration was to one day write — the sooner the better — a good poem, Lorca’s work meant the greatest an example of enthusiasm and poetic splendor within my reach, at the same time as the maximum written representation of a personal struggle of a double nature, which seemed to look at me: that of carrying out a taking of the word of a homosexual nature – I anxiously interrogated each one of them. his texts about the expression of his desire—, and that of reinventing, in some way, the surrounding world, the native environment, removing it from the provincial ashes.

One of Lorca’s unique virtues lies in his passion, infused with young tenderness, to understand. Understand a space, a being, a feeling, an appetite. Often times, the material development that comes with this passion unfolds in the effusive production of images that seem to seek – as if applying a hyper-powerful magnifying glass -, on the one hand, what invisible things transform things into visible in front of us, without we usually notice, and on the other, what deep meaning things have as emotional images. As if he were lifting stones in the field and discovered tangles of worms and insects, there are many poems, from Poetry book until Tamarit daybed, in which Lorca investigates what is underneath, or behind, what is being looked at, in the face of a mysteriously clean description —which is actually offered as a provocation—.

Sometimes this occurs explicitly, for example, in the poem ‘Capricho’, by Suites or in ‘New York (Office and complaint)’, of Poet in New York, to cite two cases formally positioned at the extremes. Both in the humorous traditional song cut of the first and in the dramatically amalgamated free verse of the second, the rhythmic virtuosity functions as an exact analogy of the meaning of the transmitted images, as a key convergence.

The desire for understanding in Lorca’s writing implies a desire to understand and be understood. There is a relevant element of self-exploration and a call for help, which runs through his entire work like a nerve. For example, a well-known button: “Because I am not a man, nor a poet, nor a leaf, / but a wounded pulse that probes things on the other side” (‘Double Poem of Lake Eden’).

Again, then, the probing that discovers the other side of things, and an undefined, ideal identity, which can be related to the second chance of innocence during maturity – by dint of approaching with determination who he was when he was young – to the one Camila Sosa refers to in her sparkling text to writing and transvestism, The useless journey.

The uninterrupted capacity for transformation of Lorca’s work, left, let’s say, alone, and in relation to his readers, I think is also related, in a relevant way, to the singular air of helplessness that emanates from his poems. Whether it is a helplessness in company, good or bad, certainly does not lessen it and, on occasions, even increase it, as it happens in New York poems. But it is, above all, a sentiment that fits in with the “native need for new beauty” that he attributed to Góngora, in his lecture on him, and that we can perfectly attribute to Lorca himself, to the extensible pulse of his poetic fatality.

Luis Munoz he is a poet. His most recent book is Neighborhood (Visor).

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