Horses in the Air and Other Poems


Winner of the 2000 Harold Morton Landon Translati+C100on Award.

A major Spanish poet of the Generation of ’27, Jorge Guillén’s luminous poetry, marked by nobility of mind, balance, and clarity of vision, deserves to be more widely known to readers of English.

Guillén was born in Valladolid, Old Castile. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, he was arrested and detained briefly in Pamplona as a political prisoner. He left Spain in ...

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Winner of the 2000 Harold Morton Landon Translati+C100on Award.

A major Spanish poet of the Generation of ’27, Jorge Guillén’s luminous poetry, marked by nobility of mind, balance, and clarity of vision, deserves to be more widely known to readers of English.

Guillén was born in Valladolid, Old Castile. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, he was arrested and detained briefly in Pamplona as a political prisoner. He left Spain in 1938 and went into voluntary exile in the United States, where he remained until after the death of Franco. In 1978 he returned to live in Spain. He died in Málaga in 1984.

Many poems in Horses in the Air were written in America; many of them have never been translated into English before. Guillén’s view of Europe from the New World, his experience as an exile and an immigrant, as well as his encounter with Spanish America and with Spain in America provide insights into our shared culture that are fresh and relevant today.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Although a member of the influential Generation of 1927 and one of the greatest Spanish poets of the 20th century, Guill n 1893-1984 is not widely known in the English-speaking world; the last major mainstream translation of his work is now almost 20 years old. This bilingual anthology presents 85 representative poems from every stage of Guill n's career: the optimistic affirmation of "C ntico," the social immediacy of "Clamor," and the literary tributes in "Homenaje." Unfortunately, the capricious order does not indicate which poems come from which collection. The selections vary in length, from the three-line nugget "Natural or Divine"--"High tide. The tide recedes./ Once resolved, love recedes./ The reason for things recedes"--to the lengthy anti-totalitarian "The Power of Perez." Guill n's reputation rests on his formal perfection, almost classical symmetry, and precision--traits that facilitated this translation--and these selections corroborate that reputation. A noteworthy retrospective of an overlooked and undervalued poet.--Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
HORSES IN THE AIR ( paperback original; Jul.; 246 pp.; 0-87286-352-2): Guillén has not lacked translators into English (including Richard Wilbur, W.S. Merwin, and Mark Strand), so Franzen picks as much as possible from untranslated portions of Guillén's massive output between 1928 and 1967. (Unfortunately, she doesn't date or locate each poem, though she does provide the Spanish original en face.) One of the great "Generation of 1927," with García Lorca, Rafael Alberti, and Luis Cernuda (among others), Guillén (1893-1984) left Spain in 1938 as a part of the postwar diaspora for some 20 years of voluntary exile (at Wellesley College), lasting until Franco's death in the late '70s. Franzen well represents the breadth and depth of the poet's marvelous achievement: the lovely short lyrics that affirm life with his secular mysticism; the cosmic encounters with the natural world that encourage us to share his sense of time and space; the long narrative poems that satirize the inanities and brutalities of the Fascist regime; and a series of "marginal notes"—poems that imitate, cajole, criticize, engage, and answer writers from Lucretius and Vico to Whitman and Henry James. Though Franzen captures the simplicity of Guillén's typical oaths ("I accept / my human condition"), she ignores the rhyme schemes that make his shorter work so melodious.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872863521
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Language: Spanish
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 1,319,556
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Sliver of Spring 3
A Window 5
Clear Stream 7
Horses in the Air 9
The Exile 17
Living 21
Firefly 29
Invasion 31
Corner Bar 33
The Supreme Ones 35
Power of Perez 37
The Weary Man's Dawn 61
Hotel of Both Worlds 65
Blood in the River 67
Figurations 77
In Plain Sight 79
Like You, Reader 81
Date 85
About the passage 95
Corner 97
My Dear Sir 99
Halfway Daphne 101
The Restless 103
Ruins with Fear 105
Beard with Nest 107
Freckles 109
Observe Life 111
Penury 115
Those Summers 117
Barely Autumn 119
A Prison 121
Air All Around 123
Vespertine Shore 125
Emptiness 127
Seen and Remembered 129
Christmas in Piazza Navona 131
Original Silence 133
St. Sebastian 135
Journeys 137
Suspicion of Seal 139
So Beautiful Still 141
Venice: Festival 143
Along the Verge 145
Almost Too Much 147
Body Alone 149
The Greatest Commotion 151
Rivers of China 155
Ardent October 157
Ripeness 159
Sea Air 161
This Mediterranean Sea 163
Zoological Garden 165
Man as Evil Demiurge 167
Within the Castle Still 169
Courageous Love 171
Who Has Not Said Stupid Things? 173
The Minstrel and his Listener 175
Cult of Aurora 179
Leaves of Grass in the Wind 181
Expectancy 183
Meaningful Landscape 185
Twelfth of October 185
The Muse in Retirement 187
Hotel Guest 189
Ultramadrigal 191
Ministry, Minstrelsy 193
Letters 195
Now This is Really Absurd 197
Circus Moonbeam 199
That Young Man 201
If the Critic were to Read 203
Perpetual Motion 205
About Forgetting 207
Remembering I Discover 209
Land Breeze 211
Consolation 213
Salvation over the Water 215
Palazzo 217
Jungle Animal 219
The Hills of Bogota 221
Return to the Place Where I Once Lived 225
Treasurer 227
Extinction 229
Natural or Divine 231
Adaptable 233
Cartagena of the Indies 235
Transition 237
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2001

    As it says in the backcover, 'an excellent introduction.'

    I had heard about this Spanish poet but had never gotten around to reading him. I am enjoying my reading though his style is terse. The English translations on the facing page are a great help. I went against my basic mistrust and boredom with introductions/ prefaces and read this one and it was not much help. I think the poems should speak for themselves and at most an afterword is what I might read which are scarce. Anyway, These poems are from three different collections from Senor Jorge Guillen who fled to the US from Spain. Thank you.

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