Federico García Lorca

(5 June 1898 – 19 August 1936 / Fuente Vaqueros)

Quotations

  • ''I was lucky enough to see with my own eyes the recent stock- market crash, where they lost several million dollars, a rabble of dead money that went sliding off into the sea. Never as then, amid suicides, hysteria, and groups of fainting people, have I felt the sensation of real death, death without hope, death that is nothing but rottenness, for the spectacle was terrifying but devoid of greatness.... I felt something like a divine urge to bombard that whole canyon of shadow, where ambulances collected suicides whose hands were full of rings.''
    Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet, playwright. Lecture, March 1932, Madrid. "A Poet in New York," published in Poet in New York (1940, trans. 1988).
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  • ''There is nothing more poetic and terrible than the skyscrapers' battle with the heavens that cover them. Snow, rain, and mist highlight, drench, or conceal the vast towers, but those towers, hostile to mystery and blind to any sort of play, shear off the rain's tresses and shine their three thousand swords through the soft swan of the fog.''
    Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet, playwright. Lecture, March 1932, Madrid. "A Poet in New York," Poet in New York (1940, trans. 1988).
  • ''The two elements the traveler first captures in the big city are extrahuman architecture and furious rhythm. Geometry and anguish. At first glance, the rhythm may be confused with gaiety, but when you look more closely at the mechanism of social life and the painful slavery of both men and machines, you see that it is nothing but a kind of typical, empty anguish that makes even crime and gangs forgivable means of escape.''
    Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet, playwright. Lecture, March 1932, delivered in Madrid. "A Poet in New York," published in Poet in New York (1940, trans. 1988).
  • ''The terrible, cold, cruel part is Wall Street. Rivers of gold flow there from all over the earth, and death comes with it. There, as nowhere else, you feel a total absence of the spirit: herds of men who cannot count past three, herds more who cannot get past six, scorn for pure science and demoniacal respect for the present. And the terrible thing is that the crowd that fills the street believes that the world will always be the same and that it is their duty to keep that huge machine running, day and night, forever. This is what comes of a Protestant morality, that I, as a (thank God) typical Spaniard, found unnerving.''
    Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet, playwright. Lecture, March 1932, Madrid. "A Poet in New York," Poet in New York (1940, trans. 1988).
  • ''The only things that the United States has given to the world are skyscrapers, jazz, and cocktails. That is all. And in Cuba, in our America, they make much better cocktails.''
    Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet, playwright. Interview, 1933; published in Obras Completas, vol. 3 (1986). Quoted in Poet in New York, introduction (1940, trans. 1988).
  • ''With their souls of patent leather,
    they come down the road.
    Hunched and nocturnal,
    Where they breathe they impose,
    silence of dark rubber,
    and fear of fine sand.''
    Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet, playwright. Romance de la Guardia Civil Española.
  • ''Green how I want you green.
    Green wind. Green branches.''
    Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet, playwright. "Romance Sonámbulo."
  • ''In Spain, the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world.''
    Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet, playwright. "The Duende: Theory and Divertissement, Appendix 6," Poet in New York (1940).
  • ''New York is a meeting place for every race in the world, but the Chinese, Armenians, Russians, and Germans remain foreigners. So does everyone except the blacks. There is no doubt but that the blacks exercise great influence in North America, and, no matter what anyone says, they are the most delicate, spiritual element in that world.''
    Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet, playwright. Lecture, March 1932, Madrid. "A Poet in New York," Poet in New York (1940, trans. 1988).
  • ''To see you naked is to recall the Earth.''
    Federico García Lorca (1899-1936), Spanish poet, playwright. Casida de la Mujer Tendida.

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Las Seis Cuerdas

La guitarra,
hace llorar a los sueños.
El sollozo de las almas
perdidas,
se escapa por su boca
redonda.
Y como la tarántula
teje una gran estrella
para cazar suspiros,
que flotan en su negro
aljibe de madera.

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