Friday, April 18, 2008

Reader's Diary #348- Federico Garcia Lorca: Selected Poems (Translated by Martin Sorrell)

I believe it was through Poetry Friday that I first heard of Lorca and so I reluctant to say something negative about his poetry because I'm pretty sure somebody's not going to be happy with me. Rest easy, you can always blame it on Martin Sorrell's translation.

Asides from overdoing the melodrama (complete with exclamation marks), my major issue with Lorca was the repetition of certain words and phrases through all of his poems. I knew it was getting bad when I found myself cataloguing the most common ones. I did, after a point, appreciate the confines that created and I began to think of it as a some sort of Oulipo-type challenge wherein the poet must create hundreds of different poems using only 50 words. Occasionally, I even think it paid it off. The Ballad of The Moon was a particular favourite.

For your enjoyment, here's a list of Lorca's most common words: silk, unicorn, trees (cypress, fig, olive), silver, knives, daggers, shadows, frogs, bulls, dead/death, ay!, wound, dream, labyrinth, moon, stars, sky, water, wind, rain, snow, rivers, breeze, saeta, flowers (lily, rose, carnation), colours (red, white, green, blue, black), Christ, nails, blood, heart, gypsy, mountain, horsemen, voice. See if you can come with your own Lorca-esque creation. Here's mine:

Sad Lorca
(a parody by John Mutford)

silk-clad horsemen
deliver white roses
to the gypsies--
a death portent.

frogs croak with
silver voices, daggers
in the hearts of

the moon nailed to
the cypress
taunts the wind.


Andromeda Jazmon said...

Good Lord deliver us. Another trap to avoid! This would make a fun parlor game (gets better as we get drunker)

Jodie said...

Hello I write for a bookzine called Estella's Revenge ( and I was hoping you might be able to help me pull together a feature for our 'Travel' issue. I'm popping around various international reading challenges and asking the organisers to tell me what are the best books they have encountered so far in their challenge experience. I would love it if you could let me know what some of your favourite challenge reads have been for the 'Canadian' challenge have been and perhaps provide a short sentence about why you have enjoyed them so much.

The goal of this investigation is to get 80 books from around the world into this feature and so go 'Around the World in 80 books' (kind of dorky I know but also kind of fun).

If you'd like to participate please send me your choices at bakerjodie at googlemail dot com by 24th April. If you'd like it would be wonderful if you could ask those taking part in the challenge to help out as well.