granada la bella
where anything is possible
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.
Love, Desire, and Sex - in Lorca’s Life and Works
Going back to September 2019, I posted two entries prompted by the long-awaited Christopher Maurer Exhibition, which finally opened at the Lorca Centre 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.
RIGHT: Lorca in Cadaqués, with Dalí, 1925
Daylighting Waterways and Gentrification
Looking back to last summer (2019), we 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.
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)
Architect Saúl Meral’s impression of the River Darro uncovered.
My most recent blog “Wow! What a line-up!” was the first for some time. It brings news of this summer’s concert programme “Lorca y Granada” which runs from 29 July to 29 August in the Gardens of the Generalife. Included is la absolute crême de la crême of contemporary flamenco artists presenting their latest productions. You have a chance to see Estrella Morente, Marina Heredia, Carmen Liñares, and Eva Yerbabuena, among others, all accompanied or supported by first-class musicians and dancers.
Tickets to these events are on sale from 1 July. Consult the blog to see how to order.
Apart from that, it is worth noting that Melissa Dinverno’s exhibition at the Lorca Centre “Suites: un viaje de percepción” has re-opened so my review should still be of interest.
Prior to thhat, in April I posted three blogs on environmental issues.
The first “Not the Last Word” commented on the very evident reduction in air polution over Granada brought about by the Covid-19 lockdown.
This was followed by an entry on the introduction of new bike lanes on a number of main city arteries. It turned out disappointingly to be a temporary measure and we are now getting back to the old normal, I fear.
The third post “NO2+COVID19 = A Deadly Formula” discusses the strong correlation between the Covid-19 virus and air pollution in geographical areas like Granada where weather conditions hold polluted air stationery for lengthy periods of time.
Lorca biographer Ian Gibson first came to my attention shortly after my arrival in Granada (1990) through 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.
ABOVE: Granada during the lock-down