Friday, December 6, 2019

Giovanni Quessep / As autumn falls




As autumn falls
by Giovanni Quessep

Giovanni Quessep / Mientras cae el otoño

Shrouded in golden leaves,
we wait.
The world doesn’t end at sunset
and only dreams
limit themselves to things.
Through a labyrinth of blank hours
time leads us on
as autumn falls
over our house, our patio.
Shrouded in a relentless fog
we wait, we wait:
nostalgia means to live without remembering
the word we are made of.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Giovanni Quessep / To become one with music




To become one with music
by Giovanni Quessep

Giovanni Quessep / Para hacerte a la música

You are in need of everything:
grey roads,
deep glooms,
birds that sing even in silence;
the sky,
an autumn leaf,
hands empty,
love unreturning,
snow’s whiteness;
dawn lights,
you are in need of everything the dream requires,
to become one with the music
of the most faraway blues
so that eventually your soul
will have confidence in death.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Giovanni Quessep / In between trees




In between trees
by Giovanni Quessep
Translated by Felipe Botero


Giovanni Quessep / Entre árboles

If you are who I look for, come
in the night of lost reflections,
if you are the beloved body,
come in between trees, in between songs.

Here awaits you a time
dispossessed of fables,
a body punished by life
and the roads’ brambles.

If you are she who comes,
leave me a sign in between trees:
a white veil, a trace in the dust
will suffice in my wretchedness.

Come now that death awaits
as marvellous forest awaits death;
if you are who I look for,
come under the sky’s protection.




Thursday, November 28, 2019

Giovanni Quessep / A Greek Verse for Ophelia






A Greek Verse for Ophelia
by Giovanni Quessep

Giovanni Quessep / Un verso griego para Ofelia

The afternoon I knew your death–
the summer’s purest, the almonds
had grown up to the sky,
and the loom halted in the rainbow’s
ninth colour. How, by the white rim, did
her movement go?
How was your flight by that thread woven
which gave almost the name of destiny?

Only the clouds uplifted in the light
told everybody’s writing, the ballad
of who has seen a kingdom and
another kingdom and remains
within the fable. They carried
your body, snow between dust branches
that have already heard the song and keep
peace of the nightingale among the tombs.

I shut the garden gates, the
castle’s high windows. Indeed I grudged
the troubadour, transmuting wood
to water, flower and lute, entry.
He sang his song; time has unravelled what
the Lord has ravelled, silver tapestry
already happening, moonlit wandering,
yet returning to the skein. Alone
you may find the shape that awaits you.

I don’t know what blue was, there and then, lonely,
I don’t know what forest imparted to
the bitter moon its enchantment, the sunflower found
under the ship on voyages that recall
the Mediterranean clear waters.
The afternoon I knew you
were leaving was death’s purest: you
were in my memory talking to me
among the lilies, in some lines by
Saint John of the Cross. What sky was there,
what hand knit slowly, what songs
brought the pain, the marvel
that is awed of being at that hour
in which the moon burst on the almonds
and burned down the jasmines. You came
by the side of the sea from where a song
is heard, perhaps from a drowning
virgin, as your steps on the land.

Then you departed through my soul, you queen
of ancient fables, dust kindred to those ships
that once seeded from sandal-
-wood and cedar the wine sea.
Alone you travelled, beautiful, in silence,
stone-beautiful; in your shoulder
a violin stopped in its tracks. The almonds in
the courtyard and the jasmines announced
a summer storm. The sky
shattered my house’s mirror, death
resounded deep in the cistern. I was
thus lost in that fiery bramble, in which
our memory conceals our loved ones.
I wore blue mourning and remained alone

“on the eve of the longest day”.



Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Poetic Principle / Poe on Truth, Love, Reason, and the Human Impulse for Beauty



The Poetic Principle: Poe on Truth, Love, Reason, and the Human Impulse for Beauty

“A poem deserves its title only inasmuch as it excites, by elevating the soul. The value of the poem is in the ratio of this elevating excitement.”

“True poetic form,” Edward Hirsch wrote in his wonderful meditation on how to read a poem, “implies a mind so miraculously attuned and illuminated that it can form words, by a chain of more-than coincidences, into a living entity.” James Dickey, in his guide on how to enjoy poetry, argued that “poetry makes possible the deepest kind of personal possession of the world.” In his sublime Nobel Prize acceptance speech, the late and great Seamus Heaney asserted that poetry works to “persuade that vulnerable part of our consciousness” and remind us that we are “hunters and gatherers of values.” But, surely, all these exaltations apply to good poetry — great poetry, even. The question, then, is what makes great poetry, and why does it make the human soul sing so?
Arguably the most compelling answer ever given comes from Edgar Allan Poe in his essay “The Poetic Principle,” which he penned at the end of his life. It was published posthumously in 1850 and can be found in the fantastic Library of America volume Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews (public library), which also gave us Poe’s priceless praise of marginalia.
Poe begins with an unambiguous definition of the purpose of poetry:
A poem deserves its title only inasmuch as it excites, by elevating the soul. The value of the poem is in the ratio of this elevating excitement. But all excitements are, through a psychal necessity, transient. That degree of excitement which would entitle a poem to be so called at all, cannot be sustained throughout a composition of any great length. After the lapse of half an hour, at the very utmost, it flags — fails — a revulsion ensues — and then the poem is, in effect, and in fact, no longer such.
And yet, he argues, this isn’t necessarily how we judge poetic merit — he takes a prescient jab against our present “A for effort” cultural mindset to remind us that the measure of genius isn’t dogged time investment but actual creative quality:
It is to be hoped that common sense, in the time to come, will prefer deciding upon a work of Art, rather by the impression it makes — by the effect it produces — than by the time it took to impress the effect, or by the amount of “sustained effort” which had been found necessary in effecting the impression. The fact is, that perseverance is one thing and genius quite another
(It’s interesting that he uses the term “sustained effort” more than a century and a half before the findings of modern psychology, which has upgraded the term to “deliberate practice” to illustrate the qualitative difference in the effort necessary for achieving genius-level skill.)
After discussing a couple of examples of poems that elevate the soul, Poe takes a stab at what he considers to be the most perilous cultural misconception about poetry and its aim, a fallacy that profoundly betrays the poetic spirit:
It has been assumed, tacitly and avowedly, directly and indirectly, that the ultimate object of all Poetry is Truth. Every poem, it is said, should inculcate a moral; and by this moral is the poetical merit of the work to be adjudged. We Americans especially have patronized this happy idea; and we Bostonians, very especially, have developed it in full. We have taken it into our heads that to write a poem simply for the poem’s sake, and to acknowledge such to have been our design, would be to confess ourselves radically wanting in the true poetic dignity and force: — but the simple fact is, that, would we but permit ourselves to look into our own souls we should immediately there discover that under the sun there neither exists nor can exist any work more thoroughly dignified — more supremely noble than this very poem — this poem per se — this poem which is a poem and nothing more — this poem written solely for the poem’s sake.
He goes on to outline a dispositional diagram of the human mind, a kind of conceptual phrenology that segments out the trifecta of mental faculties:
Dividing the world of mind into its three most immediately obvious distinctions, we have the Pure Intellect, Taste, and the Moral Sense. I place Taste in the middle, because it is just this position which, in the mind, it occupies. It holds intimate relations with either extreme; but from the Moral Sense is separated by so faint a difference that Aristotle has not hesitated to place some of its operations among the virtues themselves. Nevertheless, we find the offices of the trio marked with a sufficient distinction. Just as the Intellect concerns itself with Truth, so Taste informs us of the Beautiful while the Moral Sense is regardful of Duty. Of this latter, while Conscience teaches the obligation, and Reason the expediency, Taste contents herself with displaying the charms: — waging war upon Vice solely on the ground of her deformity — her disproportion — her animosity to the fitting, to the appropriate, to the harmonious — in a word, to Beauty.
(I wonder whether Susan Sontag was thinking about Poe when she wrote in her diary that “intelligence … is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas.”)
Beauty, Poe argues, is the highest of those human drives, and the domain where poetry dwells:
An immortal instinct, deep within the spirit of man, is thus, plainly, a sense of the Beautiful. This it is which administers to his delight in the manifold forms, and sounds, and odors, and sentiments amid which he exists. And just as the lily is repeated in the lake, or the eyes of Amaryllis in the mirror, so is the mere oral or written repetition of these forms, and sounds, and colors, and odors, and sentiments, a duplicate source of delight.
[…]
The struggle to apprehend the supernal Loveliness — this struggle, on the part of souls fittingly constituted — has given to the world all that which it (the world) has ever been enabled at once to understand and to feel as poetic.
Acknowledging that the poetic sentiment may manifest itself in forms other than poetry — art, sculpture, dance, architecture — he points to music (“Music”) as an especially sublime embodiment of the Poetic Principle:
It is in Music, perhaps, that the soul most nearly attains the great end for which, when inspired by the Poetic Sentiment, it struggles — the creation of supernal Beauty. It may be, indeed, that here this sublime end is, now and then, attained in fact. We are often made to feel, with a shivering delight, that from an earthly harp are stricken notes which cannot have been unfamiliar to the angels. And thus there can be little doubt that in the union of Poetry with Music in its popular sense, we shall find the widest field for the Poetic development.
(Again, I wonder whether Poe was on Susan Sontag’s mind when she wrote that “music is at once the most wonderful, the most alive of all the arts,” or on Edna St. Vincent Millay’s when she exclaimed, “Without music I should wish to die. Even poetry, Sweet Patron Muse forgive me the words, is not what music is.”)
Poe returns to the subject of beauty as the ultimate source of this “Poetic Sentiment” in all its varied expressions with an argument that rings all the more poignant and stirring today, in an age when we question whether pleasure alone can make literature worthwhile. Poe writes:
That pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating, and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the Beautiful. In the contemplation of Beauty we alone find it possible to attain that pleasurable elevation, or excitement, of the soul, which we recognize as the Poetic Sentiment, and which is so easily distinguished from Truth, which is the satisfaction of the Reason, or from Passion, which is the excitement of the heart. I make Beauty, therefore — using the word as inclusive of the sublime — I make Beauty the province of the poem, simply because it is an obvious rule of Art that effects should be made to spring as directly as possible from their causes: — no one as yet having been weak enough to deny that the peculiar elevation in question is at least most readily attainable in the poem. It by no means follows, however, that the incitements of Passion, or the precepts of Duty, or even the lessons of Truth, may not be introduced into a poem, and with advantage; for they may subserve, incidentally, in various ways, the general purposes of the work: — but the true artist will always contrive to tone them down in proper subjection to that Beauty which is the atmosphere and the real essence of the poem.
He then offers a precise, unapologetic definition of poetry:
I would define, in brief, the Poetry of words as The Rhythmical Creation of Beauty. Its sole arbiter is Taste. With the Intellect or with the Conscience, it has only collateral relations. Unless incidentally, it has no concern whatever either with Duty or with Truth.
[…]
While [the Poetic Principle] itself is, strictly and simply, the Human Aspiration for Supernal Beauty, the manifestation of the Principle is always found in an elevating excitement of the Soul — quite independent of that passion which is the intoxication of the Heart — or of that Truth which is the satisfaction of the Reason. For, in regard to Passion, alas! its tendency is to degrade, rather than to elevate the Soul. Love, on the contrary — Love … is unquestionably the purest and truest of all poetical themes. And in regard to Truth — if, to be sure, through the attainment of a truth, we are led to perceive a harmony where none was apparent before, we experience, at once, the true poetical effect — but this effect is preferable to the harmony alone, and not in the least degree to the truth which merely served to render the harmony manifest.


Portrait of Poe by Benjamin Lacombe. Click image for details.

Poe ends with an exquisite living manifestation of his Poetic Principle — a sort of prose poem about poetry itself:
We shall reach, however, more immediately a distinct conception of what the true Poetry is, by mere reference to a few of the simple elements which induce in the Poet himself the true poetical effect He recognizes the ambrosia which nourishes his soul, in the bright orbs that shine in Heaven — in the volutes of the flower — in the clustering of low shrubberies — in the waving of the grain-fields — in the slanting of tall, Eastern trees — in the blue distance of mountains — in the grouping of clouds — in the twinkling of half-hidden brooks — in the gleaming of silver rivers — in the repose of sequestered lakes — in the star-mirroring depths of lonely wells. He perceives it in the songs of birds — in the harp of Æolus — in the sighing of the night-wind — in the repining voice of the forest — in the surf that complains to the shore — in the fresh breath of the woods — in the scent of the violet — in the voluptuous perfume of the hyacinth — in the suggestive odor that comes to him, at eventide, from far-distant, undiscovered islands, over dim oceans, illimitable and unexplored. He owns it in all noble thoughts — in all unworldly motives — in all holy impulses — in all chivalrous, generous, and self-sacrificing deeds. He feels it in the beauty of woman — in the grace of her step — in the lustre of her eye — in the melody of her voice — in her soft laughter — in her sigh — in the harmony of the rustling of her robes. He deeply feels it in her winning endearments — in her burning enthusiasms — in her gentle charities — in her meek and devotional endurances — but above all — ah, far above all — he kneels to it — he worships it in the faith, in the purity, in the strength, in the altogether divine majesty — of her love.
Find more of Poe’s timeless wisdom in Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews and complement it with his meditation on marginalia and Lou Reed on the challenge of setting Poe to music.


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Federico García Lorca / Serenata




Serenata

By Federico García Lorca
Translated by Derek Parker


The night soaks itself
along the shore of the river
and in Lolita's breasts
the branches die of love.

The branches die of love.

Naked the night sings
above the bridges of March.
Lolita bathes her body
with salt water and roses.

The branches die of love.

The night of anise and silver
shines over the rooftops.
Silver of streams and mirrors
Anise of your white thighs.

The branches die of love.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Nicole Lyons / Battles




BATTLES
by Nicole Lyons

I have never
seen battles
quite as terrifyingly beautiful
as the ones I fight
when my mind
splinters
and races,
to swallow me
into my own madness,
again.





Friday, November 8, 2019

Blondie / Heart of Glass




Blondie

Heart Of Glass 

Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing, only to find
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind
Once I had a love and it was divine
Soon found out I was losing my mind
It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind
In between
What I find is pleasing and I'm feeling fine
Love is so confusing there's no peace of mind
If I fear I'm losing you it's just no good
You teasing like you do
Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing, only to find
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind
Lost inside
Adorable illusion and I cannot hide
I'm the one you're using, please don't push me aside
We could've made it cruising, yeah
Yeah, riding high on love's true bluish light
Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing only to find
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind
In between
What I find is pleasing and I'm feeling fine
Love is so confusing there's no peace of mind
If I fear I'm losing you it's just no good
You teasing like you do


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Vangelis / Blade Runner / Opening Titles




Vangelis


Blade Runner

Opening Titles (HQ)



The opening titles of one of my favorite Sci-fi movies, straight from the Blu-ray disc, "Blade Runner", directed by Ridley Scott and with an unforgetable soundtrack composed by Vangelis. One of the most evocative openings in a sci-fi film that I can remember.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Tree, tree dry and green by Federico García Lorca




Tree, tree 
dry and green
The girl with the pretty face
is out picking olives.
The wind, playboy of towers,
grabs her around the waist.
Four riders passed by
on Andalusian ponies,
with blue and green jackets
and big, dark capes.
"Come to Cordoba, muchacha."
The girl won't listen to them.
Three young bullfighters passed,
slender in the waist,
with jackets the color of oranges
and swords of ancient silver.
"Come to Sevilla, muchacha."
The girl won't listen to them.
When the afternoon had turned
dark brown, with scattered light,
a young man passed by, wearing
roses and myrtle of the moon.
"Come to Granada, inuchacha."
And the girl won't listen to him.
The girl with the pretty face
keeps on picking olives
with the grey arm of the wind
wrapped around her waist.
Tree, tree
dry and green. 


Monday, September 30, 2019

Federico García Lorca / Romance sonámbulo



Romance Sonámbulo
by Federico García Lorca
Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
With the shade around her waist
she dreams on her balcony,
green flesh, her hair green,
with eyes of cold silver.
Green, how I want you green.
Under the gypsy moon,
all things are watching her
and she cannot see them.

Green, how I want you green.
Big hoarfrost stars
come with the fish of shadow
that opens the road of dawn.
The fig tree rubs its wind
with the sandpaper of its branches,
and the forest, cunning cat,
bristles its brittle fibers.
But who will come? And from where?
She is still on her balcony
green flesh, her hair green,
dreaming in the bitter sea.

— My friend, I want to trade
my horse for her house,
my saddle for her mirror,
my knife for her blanket.
My friend, I come bleeding
from the gates of Cabra.
— If it were possible, my boy,
I'd help you fix that trade.
But now I am not I,
nor is my house now my house.

— My friend, I want to die
decently in my bed.
Of iron, if that's possible,
with blankets of fine chambray.
Don't you see the wound I have
from my chest up to my throat?
— Your white shirt has grown
thirsy dark brown roses.
Your blood oozes and flees a
round the corners of your sash.
But now I am not I,
nor is my house now my house.
— Let me climb up, at least,
up to the high balconies;
Let me climb up! Let me,
up to the green balconies.
Railings of the moon
through which the water rumbles.

Now the two friends climb up,
up to the high balconies.
Leaving a trail of blood.
Leaving a trail of teardrops.
Tin bell vines
were trembling on the roofs.
A thousand crystal tambourines
struck at the dawn light.

Green, how I want you green,
green wind, green branches.
The two friends climbed up.
The stiff wind left
in their mouths, a strange taste
of bile, of mint, and of basil
My friend, where is she— tell me—
where is your bitter girl?
How many times she waited for you!
How many times would she wait for you,
cool face, black hair,
on this green balcony!

Over the mouth of the cistern
the gypsy girl was swinging,
green flesh, her hair green,
with eyes of cold silver.
An icicle of moon
holds her up above the water.
The night became intimate
like a little plaza.
Drunken Guardias Civiles
were pounding on the door. 


Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea.
And the horse on the mountain.





Saturday, September 28, 2019

Pablo Neruda’s Extraordinary Life, in an Illustrated Love Letter to Language

Matilde Urrutia and Pablo Neruda


Pablo Neruda’s Extraordinary Life, in an Illustrated Love Letter to Language

A swirling celebration of one of the greatest creative icons of the twentieth century.

Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904–September 23, 1973) was not only one of the greatest poets in human history, but also a man of extraordinary insight into the human spirit — take, for instance, his remarkable reflection on what a childhood encounter taught him about why we make art, quite possibly the most beautiful metaphor for the creative impulse ever committed to paper.
As a lover both of Neruda’s enduring genius and of intelligent children’s books, especially ones celebrating the lives of luminaries — such as the wonderful illustrated life-stories of Albert Einstein and Julia Child — I was instantly smitten with Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People (public library) by Monica Brown, with absolutely stunning illustrations and hand-lettering by artist Julie Paschkis.

The story begins with the poet’s birth in Chile in 1904 with the given name of Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto — to evade his father’s disapproval of his poetry, he came up with the pen name “Pablo Neruda” at the age of sixteen when he first began publishing his work — and traces his evolution as a writer, his political awakening as an activist, his deep love of people and language and the luminosity of life.
Neftalí wasn’t very good at soccer or at throwing acorns like his friends, but he loved to read and discovered magic between the pages.
Embedded in the story is a sweet reminder of what books do for the soul and a heartening assurance that creative genius isn’t the product of conforming to common standards of excellence but of finding one’s element.
In fact, the book is as much a celebration of Neruda as it is a love letter to language itself — swirling through Paschkis’s vibrant illustrations are words both English and Spanish, beautiful words like “fathom” and “plummet” and “flicker” and “sigh” and “azul.”
Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People is exuberant and enchanting in its entirety. Complement it with Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child, written and illustrated by Jessie Hartland, and On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein, written by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky, then treat yourself to this bewitching reading of Neruda’s “Ode to the Book.”


Monday, September 23, 2019

Pablo Neruda / The Tiger


The Tiger
by Pablo Neruda

I am the tiger.
I lie in wait for you among leaves
broad as ingots
of wet mineral.

The white river grows
beneath the fog. You come.

Naked you submerge.
I wait.

Then in a leap of fire, blood, teeth,
with a claw slash I tear away
your bosom, your hips.

I drink your blood, I break
your limbs one by one.

And I remain watching
for years in the forest
over your bones, your ashes,
motionless, far
from hatred and anger,
disarmed in your death,
crossed by lianas,
motionless in the rain,
relentless sentinel
of my murderous love.


Friday, September 20, 2019

Ian Gibson / A life with Lorca



Ian Gibson: A life with Lorca

Irish-born scholar’s work on writer to be reprinted to mark 80th anniversary of his death


English version by Susana Urra

Jesús Ruiz Mantilla
25 January, 2016

Life with Federico García Lorca is a pilgrimage that involves carrying the load of injustice on your back.

It has its moments of satisfaction, says scholar Ian Gibson, but also its sorrows – such as realizing that some people in Spain still prefer ignorance over knowledge of what happened on the day a firing squad ended the writer’s life at the onset of the Spanish Civil War.


Ever since he was a young 18-year-old student in Dublin, Gibson has spent most of his time unraveling the mysteries that surround the Spanish author of Blood Wedding and Poet in New York. His complete works on the subject are to be reprinted this year, to coincide with the 80th anniversary of Lorca’s murder on August 19, 1936.
“He is the most famous missing person in the world,” says Gibson, alluding to the fact that Lorca’s body has still not been found despite several high-profile attempts.
Sitting inside a bar in Lavapiés, the Madrid neighborhood where he lives, Gibson explains how Lorca became the focal point of his career. “It could have been Baudelaire,” he admits. “But it was Federico who dazzled me.”
At age 76, he still doesn’t quite know why. “It was a very intimate, very profound thing that his poetry revealed to me. It had to do with the atavistic, with something primitive and instinctive. He was an eminently telluric poet.”






“It could have been Baudelaire. But it was Federico who dazzled me”

His first reading of El romancero gitano(translated as Gypsy Ballads) left a mark for life. Later, piqued by clues offered by Gerald Brenan in his 1950 book The Face of Spain, Gibson decided to investigate Lorca’s killing.
The result was his book The Death of Lorca, which addressed a taboo subject in 1970s Spain, then still under the yoke of Francoism.
Later came his main work, the 1998 biography Vida, pasión y muerte de Federico García Lorca, and offshoots such as 2009’s Lorca y el mundo gay and the more recent Poeta en Granada (2015).
“People think I’m obsessed,” he says, before admitting that maybe it is no wonder. “He is everything to me.”
Whether he likes it or not, Lorca is the central element that has enabled Gibson to approach other areas of research. It was Lorca who led him to Salvador Dalí, Antonio Machado and Rubén Darío, whose biographies he ended up writing as well.






Federico García Lorca in a picture taken by French writer Marcelle Auclair.
Federico García Lorca in a picture taken by French writer Marcelle Auclair. 


Gibson also played a role in the efforts to exhume Lorca’s body after putting forward a possible location of the mass grave in which he is thought to lie, together with a schoolmaster and two bullfighter assistants. That attempt proved fruitless, as did the others.
“I have gone over the notes, the recordings. I still think he is buried very near the memorial park in Alfacar, but I have no problem with people investigating other possibilities, like the researchers Miguel Caballero, Javier Navarro and their people are doing,” he says. “All leads must be followed, no doubt. All I am interested in are the scientific results.”
But Gibson is not just attracted to the shadows surrounding the writer’s death. He is also intrigued and moved by certain episodes in his life.
“He had this sense of abandonment during his childhood years. Perhaps there was a wet nurse. His love trauma must have come from some very deep place. Like he used to say: every abandoned child is a story that got erased.”
But there was a lot of light in his life as well: there was joy, there was music, and a passionate determination to follow up on what he called his inclinations. Nobody can be left indifferent after getting to know Federico. To study Lorca is to study inner prisons and how to escape from them.
Gibson had found a soulmate. “He taught me both to detect and to wish to free myself of the puritanical environment I experienced as a child in a Protestant family surrounded by a Catholic country,” he notes.
“If I live in Lavapiés, it’s because of him, because this is where I came searching for his trail,” he adds. “I never dreamed I would end up living here.”
Ultimately, he even applied for dual citizenship. This has been a source of joy and sadness, as Gibson cannot understand why his adoptive country sometimes seems unwilling to get to the bottom of the Lorca issue.
Not that he hadn’t been forewarned “by a great observer of this country, Richard Ford,” he says about the 19th-century travel writer who wrote the influential A Handbook for Travellers in Spain.
“In one of the passages he comes up with a dazzling definition of this country,” says Gibson: “Unamalgamating Spain.”