granada la bella
where anything is possible
Irish-born (1939) Hispanist and literary historian with a large body of mostly biographical works related to Spanish writers and artists. He’s done Lorca, Dalí, and Buñuel. Particularly acclaimed for his work on Lorca, he came to my attention shortly after my arrival in Granada due to his pioneering study La represión nacionalista de Granada en 1936 y la muerte de Federico García Lorca (The Nationalist Repression of Granada in 1936 and the Death of Federico García Lorca), first published in France in 1971.
Gibson recently revised his work investigating the poet´s death and published his conclusions in El asesinato de García Lorca (April 2018: see book cover below). This revision was made in response to Miguel Caballero Pérez’s study Las trece últimas horas en la vida de García Lorca (The Last Thirteen Hours in the Life of Garcia Lorca. The title is provocative, because it challenges Gibson's view that Lorca was held at least 24 hours in Granada before being taken away to Víznar to be shot.
I returned to Granada from Vietnam just in time to catch the inauguration of a new exhibition at the Lorca Centre: Suites: un viaje de percepción, curated by Melissa Dinverno, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Indiana University Bloomington. I liken the poetry collection Suites to a black hole at the centre of Lorca’s poetry because although it plays an immense role in the development of his poetic voice it never appeared as part of his poetic oeuvre until long after his death and then only in the form of an artful reconstruction at the hands of the French Lorca translator and specialist André Belamich.
Dinverno’s exhibition prompted me to look deeper into the long drawn-out and in the end unsuccessful process of shaping the series of poems he wrote between 1921 and 1923, with inspiration in the landscapes surrounding his father’s farm in Valderrubio on the Vega de Granada, into a coherent and unified body of work. Dinverno seems to think the time is right for a reappraisal of this never-collected collection and points to a forthcoming critical edition that she has been working on.
"El tiempo me recuerda"
Prior to that I had, in December 2019, while in Vietnam, posted a fairly routine blog on the Lorca Poetry Prize award of 2019. The winner was Julia Uceda and I followed it up with my own translation of her poem El tiempo me recuerda, which - her poem not my translation - was published in Granada Hoy on 12 December.
Love, Desire, and Sex - in Lorca’s Life and Works
Before that, in September, I posted two entries prompted by the long-awaited Christopher Maurer Exhibition, finally opening at the Lorca Centre in September 2019 under the title Jardín deshecho: Lorca y el amor (Torn Garden Lorca and Love). It dealt, as understand it, with the relationship between Lorca’s artistic creativity on the one hand and love, desire and sexuality on the other. In fact, I just missed the exhibition itself, having just left for Vietnam a couple of weeks before, but I used the event as a prompt for these two posts. The first, entitled Amor (con alas y flechas) – Love (with Wings and Arrows), which was the name the exhibition was originally going to be given, I believe, deals primarily with the pre-New York period and with the Lorca-Dalí relationship.
That was followed up by Natural Instincts, in which I focus more on how Lorca came to terms with and indeed came to feel rather comfortable with his natural homosexuality. I contrast his later relationships, or love affairs, with the more troubled relationships prior to his stay in America in 1929-30.
Daylighting Waterways and Gentrification
Looking back beyond Maurer's Exhibition to last summer, we will come across four entries related to the topic of ‘daylighting’ (rivers, canals, and other waterways) which seems to be a contemporary trend in urban development, involving the integration of various types of waterways into modern cityscapes.
#1 It starts with a reflection under the title of the Uncovering and Recovery of the River Darro prompted Alba Rodríguez’s interview with Ian Gibson in Granada Hoy, 15 May, 2019, in which Gibson speaks out in favour of the proposal to rescue the said river from its murky tunnel beneath Reyes Católicos Street in the neuralgic centre of the city.
#2 I followed that up shortly afterwards with The Buried Rivers of Athens and Granada which draws a parallel between the Darro proposal and a similar Greek initiative reported by Yiannis Babqulias that I came across in the Guardian Weekly of 14 June 2019.
#3 It turns out that urban landscapes across the globe are no longer being determined by their adaption to the needs of the automobile as they were for so much of the twentieth century and that now a process of gentrification is leading to greener and more pedestrian-friendly cityscapes where the flow of water plays an important role. This is reflected in my next post Daylighting Waterways - a Global Movement, which was prompted by another Guardian article I read at the time, John Vidal’s report on the West Midland Lapal Canal project to convert a derelict and abandoned industrial waterway into a desirable upmarket urban living and leisure space, one of at least 80 canal renaissance projects being undertaken in the UK at the present moment, says Vidal (25/7/2019).
#4 Returning to Granada and the River Darro, Daylighting the Darro should really be called “Burying the Darro”, because it looks more closely at the historical process of covering over a good one-kilometre stretch of the river from the church San Gil y Santa Ana to its rendez-vous with the River Genil, close to the Roman bridge.
Poetry in the Popular Music of Latin America, and Cats.
Going further back to April 1919 there are two entries about the award-winner of the 2018 Lorca Poetry Prize, Dario Jaramillo, prompted by a conversation at the LorcaCentre between prize-winner and Santiago Auserón - yes him of Radio Futura in the 80s - which I honestly didn’t make much of, due to a language deficit on my part and unfamiliar subject matter: poetry in the popular music of Latin America (bolero, tango, ranchero). I followed it up with one of Dario Jaramillo’s loevely cat poems, illustrated with a picture of my Lola.
Ian Gibson: internationally renowned Hispanist. His earlier works include Vida, pasión y muerte de Federico García Lorca (1998). Lorca-Dalí, el amor que no pudo ser (1999)a nd Lorca y el mundo gay (2009)
ABOVE: Lorca in Cadaqués, with Dalí, 1925
LEFT: Lorca in Montevideo, 1934
LEFT: the Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul, Korea, daylighted
BELOW: Architect Saúl Meral’s impression of the River Darro uncovered.
Not the Last Word
And last but not least in this review of my most recent blogs, that is to say, chronologically the first of them, also April 2019: one on air pollution in Granada, a topic on which the last word has most certainly not been said.