Posts Tagged ‘Lorca


Federico García Lorca’s “Dos lunas de tarde” (a translation)

Federico García Lorca’s poem appears in Canciones, 1921-1924 (Songs, 1921-1924).

Dos lunas de tarde

   (A Laurita, amiga de mi hermana )

La luna está muerta, muerta;
pero resucita en la primavera.

Cuando en la frente de los chopos
se rice el viento del Sur.

Cuando den nuestros corazones
su cosecha de suspiros.

Cuando se pongan los tejados
sus sombreritos de yerba.

La luna está muerta, muerta;
pero resucita en la primavera.

   (A Isabelita, mi hermana )

La tarde canta
una <<berceuse>> a las naranjas.

Mi hermanita canta:
<<La tierra es una naranja>>.

La luna llorando dice:
<<Yo quiero ser una naranja>>.

No puede ser, hija mía,
aunque te pongas rosada.
Ni siquiera limoncito.
¡Qué lástima!


Two Evening Moons

   (to Laurita, my sister’s friend)

The moon is dead, is dead,
but in spring is resurrected.

When the fronts of the poplars
rustle in the southern wind.

When our hearts relinquish
their harvest of sighs.

When rooftops wear
their grass sombreros.

The moon is dead, is dead,
but in spring is resurrected.

   (to Isabelita, my sister)

The evening sings
a lullaby to oranges.

My sister sings:
“The earth is an orange.”

The crying moon says:
“I want to be an orange.”

You cannot be, my child,
even if you become a rose.
Not even a little lemon.
Oh, what a pity it is!



Federico García Lorca’s “Despedida” (a translation)

Federico García Lorca’s poem appears in Canciones, 1921-1924 (Songs, 1921-1924).


Si muero,
dejad el balcón abierto.

El niño come naranjas.
(Desde mi balcón lo veo).

El segador siega el trigo.
(Desde mi balcón lo siento).

¡Si muero,
dejad el balcón abierto!



If I die,
leave the balcony doors open.

A boy eats oranges.
(From my balcony, I see him.)

The reaper reaps the wheat.
(From my balcony, I’m sorry to hear him.)

If I die,
leave the balcony doors open!



Federico García Lorca’s “Cancioncilla del primer deseo” (a translation)

Federico García Lorca’s poem appears in Canciones, 1921-1924 (Songs, 1921-1924).


Cancioncilla del primer deseo

En la mañana verde,
quería ser corazón.

Y en la tarde madura
quería ser ruiseñor.

ponte color naranja!
ponte color de amor.)

En la mañana viva,
yo quería ser yo.

Y en la tarde caída
quería ser mi voz.

ponte color naranja!
ponte color de amor!


Ditty of the First Wish

In the green morning,
I want to be a heart.
A heart.

And in the mature afternoon,
I want to be a nightingale.
A nightingale.

transform to orange.
become the color of love.)

In the ripe morning
I want to be me.
A heart.

And in the late night,
I want to be my voice.
A nightingale.

transmute to orange!
become the color of love!



Dan Gerber’s – A Primer on Parallel Lives (2007)

Over the next few weeks or months, I will post all my reviews (“Tom’s Celebrations”) that appeared in Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose (formerly Redactions: Poetry & Poetics) up to and including issue 12. After that, my reviews appeared here (The Line Break) before appearing in the journal. This review first appeared in issue 10, which was published circa April 2007.


Dan Gerber's – A Primer on Parallel LivesHoly cow, an American lyricist who’s accessible. What a rare find. And Dan Gerber is a damn good one in A Primer on Parallel Lives (Copper Canyon Press). He can even write narratives. What’s more, Gerber’s got a Spanish soul. A bloody, dusty, old Spanish soul. He’s got Machado, Lorca, and Jiménez all rolled up in him. And when he does the lyric, or the meditative, it speaks to the universe and to us. As for the Spanish soul, what do I mean by that? I mean: he risks the sentimental. He rubs right up against it, but, most important, the language is fresh, the images are new, and the language and images connect us humans and our souls. It’s a poetry that lets everyone in and excludes none. For example:

   Facing North

   Ninety billion galaxies in this one tiny universe –
   a billion seconds make thirty-two years.

   No matter how many ways we conceive it,
   this generous wedge called Ursa Major
   more than fills my sight.

   But now, as I turn to put out the lights
   and give my dog her bedtime cookie,
   my eyes become the handle of the great Milky Way,
   and carry it into the house.

Except for one line, this poem flirts with the sentimental, builds towards the sentimental, then yokes it all together in the final burst of the last line.

Gerber is also what I want to call a “vertical poet.” What do I mean by “vertical poet”? Well, let me divert my attentions for a moment. Vertical has nothing, or very little, to do with content or how the poem moves or with Li-Young Lee’s vertical moment. It has to do with staring while composing. From what I can tell of American poetry (and maybe English poetry in general), most of the older poets – over 50, over 100, six-feet under – wrote with pen or pencil on paper. They stared down at the page. Their eyes staring into the words/page (perhaps beyond). They hovered over what they wrote and revised. The back of their heads faced the universe, gods, and infinity. A conduit was established between the page, the poet’s mind/imagination, and the universe. Of course there are exceptions – Ezra Pound typing in a prison camp near Pisa, William Carlos Williams typing out those triple lines. Pound and Dr. Carlos (as Pound affectionately called W. C. Williams) faced the page and stared with a similar intensity as the pen/pencil poet. Poets like Ez and Dr. Carlos are horizontal poets. The former (the pen/pencil poets) are vertical poets.

Today in American poetry there seems to be more horizontal writers – and many of them write on the computer screen, as I am doing now. (Perhaps we should call them “neo-horizontal poets” as they use the screen instead of a piece of paper curling in front of them.) The neo-horizontal poet stares into the screen. The neo-horizontal poet tends to neglect the universe. And from what I’ve noticed, the lyric is dying (at least the comprehensible, non-ellipitcal lyric), and there is a predominance of the narrative, especially the narrative about the individual. There is nothing wrong with any of this, except the universe is being neglected and the lyric is disappearing. (The lyric is our oldest form of poetry, no?) With the neo-horizontal poets, there is more dedication to time instead of the obliteration of time. I mean, don’t all us poets want to obliterate time? When are we at our happiest? When we are writing. When we come out of our half-unconscious, mostly hypnagogic state, and realize that hours have gone by, when it only felt like 10, 20, or 30 minutes. The lyric poem best destroys time.

I’m not saying the vertical poet can’t be personal and narrative. They have been. But they are more often in both veins lyrical and narrative. (I’m including meditative poetry under lyrical poetry, by the way). But with the rise of the neo-horizontal poet has come the decline of the lyrical poem and the connection with the universe.

And as I said, Gerber is vertical. His poetry connects the universe. I’ll leave you this as an example:

   Six Miles Up

   The shadow of a hand brushes over the mountains,
   as if smoothing rumpled sheets.
   And now I see that the mountains are clouds.

   In my dreams,
   I search for what I won’t remember in the morning,
   but I do remember the searching.

   In Venice I ate cuttlefish, steamed
   in its own black ink,
   and now it’s coming out of my fingers.

   Across the aisle in a window seat,
   a man like me is
   reading a book in which words appear,
   tracing an indelible line
   through the invisible sky
   while the pilot’s skill keeps us flying.




Gerber, Dan. A Primer on Parallel Lives. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2007.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day seventeen

Ramirez de la Piscina Crianza 2005

Ramirez de la Piscina Crianza 2005. From my window facing east.

It’s Thursday night, ya bastids, and you know what that means – new wine night. And I’m in a good mood. It was gray and cloudy all day with some sprinkles every now and then. (By the way, “gray” is grayer when you spell it with an “a,” so says Elizabeth Bishop.) But this wine is not gray. No no. The label at the store said it had undertones of bacon. As a new vegetarian, I look forward to tasting some bacon.  

Guitar Hollow

The soul of Spain.

Some quick research tells me the Ramirez de la Piscina Crianza 2005 is a Tempranillo. Tempranillo – they might as well call it Duende, because it tastes like the soul of Spain. It reminds me of the hollow of a guitar, which I think is the soul of Spain.  

So now the sun is out, but I won’t let that ruin the mood because I’ll just get a glass and pour me some Duende.  

It’s barely transparent, like 80 percent opaque. Man, it even looks like the blood of Spain. All cool and smooth and light ruby. It emanates royalty, and the tall meniscus must be its crown.  

I don’t smell any bacon, but I smell peppery pancetta with a wave of raspberry behind it. Down below it all I can smell some plums dripping with juice. I think there are some cherries, too. Is that strawberries. And some vanilla. Yum. And a leathery, peppery finish. There’s also some tarragon and red licorice. It’s a front-of-the-mouth and back-of-the-throat experience. 

Federico García Lorca

Federico García Lorca (shaven).

The longer it sits the juicier it gets.

It’s dry and juicy.

It reminds me a of a young, aggressive, and unshaven Federico García Lorca. I don’t know if Lorca ever had facial hair, but if he did, he’d be drinking this wine. With this wine, some facial scruff, and his poetry, he would have so many men.  

Now, I want to find a wine for Juan Ramón Jiménez.  

The search begins.//

The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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