Saturday, February 21, 2009

Gypsy Ballads - Lorca

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 161
Format : Poetry
Reason for Reading : Guardian Reading Challenge

Spanish author Lorca set his ballads in Andalusia which was the regionof Spain he was from, among the gypsy people. He was gay and was later killed by General Franco's Civil Guard on 19th August 1936, barely a month after the start of the Spanish Civil War. On of his friends was artist Salvador Dali.

His poems often revolve around sexuality and violence and it makes a moving collection. My favourites of the 18 ballads wer "Ballad of the Moon, Moon" about the moon who abducts a child to sleep, "The Unfaithful Wife" about a man who sleeps with a woman who turns out to be already married, "Ballad of the Summoned Man" about a man who is fated to die at a specific time and does so, "The Martyrdom of Saint Olalla" about a young girl tortured and killed who becomes a martyr and "Tamar and Amnon" which is a Biblical tale of incest from Sammuel concerning King David's children.

The ballads themselves are quite short for the most part, usually not longer than 3 pages each. It was interesting that the original Spanish was on the left page and the translation on the right. I don't speak any Spanish (except a couple of dirt phrases!) which made it interesting to try and learn a little and pick up on common words. There was a very interesting introduction and at the end was an interpretation of the main themes in the poem referenceing other Spanish poems of the time.

2 comments:

Nymeth said...

I hear Lorca's name often, but I knew nothing about his life. You've made me curious about this book.

Kim L said...

You know, hearing Lorca's name brings up a whole host of memories for me. I took Spanish in college and I remember a very evil professor who thought that we learned Spanish, not by actually speaking Spanish, but by reading literature and taking tests, not about Spanish, but about dates and times and facts about Spanish writer's lives. So I can probably bring to mind plenty of facts about Lorca, but my prof's approach prevented me from ever actually sitting down and just enjoying Lorca.

I will need to relook at my Spanish literature now. My spanish is rusty, so I will definitely need a spanish/english version!