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Poet in New York (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Federico Garcia Lorca , Christopher Maurer , Greg Simon , Steven F White
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

31 Jan 2002 Penguin Modern Classics
'There has been no more terribly acute critic of America than this steel-conscious and death-conscious Spaniard, with his curious passion for the modernities of nickel and tinfoil and nitre . . .' So wrote Conrad Aiken of Lorca's violent response to the New York he encountered as a student at Columbia University in 1929 and 1930. Born and brought up in Andalusia, Lorca's reaction to the brutality and loneliness of the vast city was one of amazement and indignation. His poetry moved away from the lyricism of the early Romanceros and became a vehicle for experimental techniques through which he expressed tortured feelings of alienation and dislocation. Based on a new edition of the original text, Greg Simon's and Steven White's new translation brings to life Lorca's arresting imagery. Christopher Maurer, a leading authority on Lorca's work, provides an enlightening introduction placing Poet in New York in context, and there are translations of Lorca's letters as well as a lecture he gave about the work. Illustrated with archive photographs, this comprehensive volume will make Lorca's masterpiece available to a whole new generation of readers.

Frequently Bought Together

Poet in New York (Penguin Modern Classics) + Selected Poems: with parallel Spanish text (Oxford World's Classics) + Federico Garcia Lorca: A Life
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (31 Jan 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141185821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141185828
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 379,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Lorca's long out-of-print poetic sequence about New York City, newly translated in this bilingual edition, is as contemporary as today's headlines: slums, racism, violence, and cries of loneliness punctuate this verse. Written during the Spanish playwright's nine-month stopover in 1929-30, and steeped in surrealistic technique, [this] unrelentingly negative antihymn reads the urban condition as symbolic of our culture's materialistic corruption of love and its degradation of nature . . . This [edition] is accompanied by Lorca's letters and a lecture he delivered on this lyrical work."—"Publishers Weekly " "[This] is one of the perplexing classics of 20th-century poetry. It is a difficult, sometimes bewildered, often hermetic work. It is elusive and enigmatic, mysterious, tortured—a book, to borrow one of the poet's own phrases, 'that can baptize in dark water all who look at it.' Reading it in [this] convincing new translation . . . one feels the anguished authority an

About the Author

Federico García Lorca was born into an educated family of small landowners in Fuente Vaqueros in 1898. A poet, dramatist, musician and artist, he attended the university at Granada, where he acquired a fine knowledge of literature. In 1919 he went to the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid and during his long stay there he met all the principal writers, critics and scholars who visited the place, which was then a flourishing centre of cultural liberalism. In 1928 his Gipsy-Ballad Book (Romancero gitano) received much public acclaim. In 1929 he went to New York with Fernando de los Ríos and his volume of poems Poet in New York (Poeta en Nueva York) was published posthumously in 1940.

On his return to republican Spain, he devoted himself to the theatre, as co-director of La Barraca, a government-sponsored student theatrical company that toured the country. He now wrote fewer poems, but these include his masterpiece Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías (Llanto por la muerte de Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, 1935), a lament for a dead bullfighter. He wrote classical plays, pantomimic interludes, puppet plays, La zapatera prodigiosa (1930) and three tragedies: Blood Wedding (Bodas de sangre, 1933), Yerma (1934) and The House of Bernarda Alba (La casa de Bernarda Alba, 1936). Just after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 he was murdered at Granada by Nationalist partisans, in mysterious circumstances.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic translation 21 May 2012
By Amoreno
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Only for the fact that I can receive these kind of books in Kosovo is something I will aver be grateful to Amazon for.

About the book itself: As a Spanyard I have to say I already read this poetry book several times; Although this is very much personal, as you may know it is probably among the highest standards ever reached by poetry in Spanish.

What I was expecting with the book is a good quality translation (it was for a present to a friend who only speaks English...) and this I definitely got!

Feelings are difficult to translate, poetry is basically impossible... but this translation focuses much more on the feelings of the Poet in his trip to New York than in the perfect rime or rithm... and that I really do appreciate.

My friend is already enjoying the book.

Thanks a lot.

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly interesting ! 20 Sep 2002
I had to buy this book for my university course and although I had never heard of Federico before commencing the module, by the time I had read these poems I was totally engrossed with his life in general. Although the poems can be very bizarre and generally undecipherable, some of them reveal a lot about his tortured life as a gay man under the rule of Franco. Some of the poems are very beautiful and are full of morality. All I can say is that I am very glad I chose that university module because otherwise I would never have learnt about this great poet.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Translators too desperate to make Lorca comprehensible 22 Jun 2009
By Nicholas - Published on Amazon.com
Fredrico Garcia Lorca did no wrong with Poet in New York, it is the translators who do him wrong in this edition. Desperate to make Lorca's abstract and haunting images accessible, Simon and White lose the poetic element in Lorca's writing. Not to mention the translation is not even literal. (i.e. "Carne" is translated "skin" instead of "flesh," or "meat." "Asesinado" is translated "cut down" instead of "murdered.") So what we end up with is a vain attempt to make Lorca more easily understood--a task which insults the intelligence of the reader and the creativity of the poet--which in turn results in a loose translation that reads too much like prose with line breaks. If you are looking to buy Poet in New York, do yourself a favor and buy the Medina and Statman translation. It is much truer to the spirit of the original, as well as the language.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most complex and rich books of Lorca 1 Jan 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Federico García Lorca is among the most celebrated Spanish poets of all time. The beauty of his writing has given him a place in the gallery of the best Spanish writers. This book he wrote when he was a student at Columbia University relies on the influence he got from the surrealistic movements that were running on Europe at the time. Thus, it gets far from the poetic language used in his other books, most notably in Romancero Gitano: verses leave the regularity of the romance to explore new and rich arrangements; the metaphors grow more complex and ellaborate, making a delicious challenge to the reader; one can read a poem time and again for days and will still be unsure of its real meaning. Besides this some of the poems reach a new height on Lorca's poetry. To anybody just seeking to discover Lorca and his world, Romancero Gitano seems to be a best approach in my oppinion, but if you know it and like it, I can't help recommending Poet in New York as a new horizon to discover. If your approach to this book is open-minded, you won't be disappointed.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful and chilling account.... 26 Nov 2004
By D. Pawl - Published on Amazon.com
After reading "A Poet in New York," I can say this much:

"I don't think I am planning a trip to New York very soon." Lorca's account of the city was so visceral, raw and cruel, I could feel the hauntingly dead interactions between people, and those people's relationships to the material world around them. The accounts of violence in the streets are equally as cold and boldly unapologetic as his observations of the early morning hours when the city is first waking up.

Gabriel Garcia Lorca truly shows that when it comes to the movements as a city with ties to industry, capitalistic gain and material wealth, there is no division between the life of the human being and the life of the machine. There is almost an automated, "conveyor belt" feeling to the mechanical movement of life in the city. As soon as energy is poured into an endeavor, it is also poured out just as easily. People are as disposable as sheet metal. Their blood, their organs and their instruments of movement could be ripped away and demolished as quickly and non-emotionally as one would destroy the framework of a building and it would be of no concern to anyone else.

I believe that Lorca's observations and journal entries are a reflection of not only the mindset of one of the most well known cities in the world, applicable to the 1930s, but is also quite accurately a reflection of the state of the world today.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lorca: A True Definition of a Poet 8 July 2005
By Afony - Published on Amazon.com
After reading "Poeta en Nueva York" I found out that it was really worth learning spanish. I am not exaggerating but some of Lorca's verses make me cry. They have so much emotion and fantasy in them, and they talk about experiences that take place deep inside me. The poems are surrealist but that is also what makes them amazing. The best poem is probably "Fabula y Rueda de Los Tres Amigos" where Lorca beautifully conveys his feelings towards his relationships with others and the struggle he sees within them. Strangely enough at the end of the poem he describes a lot of events concerning his death which actually coincided with his murder a few years later. Lorca's relation with the moon reflected through his simple yet overwhelming words is also charming and inspiring. I discovered through them that there was a lot more in that celestial body orbiting the earth than what I used to see before. You will feel that poetry is just flowing out of Federico. He didn't to exert a lot of effort to sound that marvellous and that right.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nightmare in New York 8 May 2006
By Ruben Osuna Guerrero - Published on Amazon.com
Lorca had a pessimistic and dark impression of the New York during the Great Depression years. Lorca describes a city populated by ghosts and nightmares. This is one of the most shocking poetic works of the XX century.

I recommend the CD 'Omega'. It is an experimental 'flamenco' work by the `cantaor' Enrique Morente, based on the poems of `Poet in New York'. This music album will help you to go deeper into the book.
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