Miguel Hernandez


Miguel Hernández is, along with Antonio Machado, Juan Ramón Jiménez, and Federico García Lorca, one of the greatest Spanish poets of the twentieth century. This volume spans the whole of Hernández’s brief writing life, and includes his most celebrated poems, from the early lyrics written in traditional forms, such as the moving elegy Hernández wrote to his friend and mentor Ramon Sijé (one of the most famous elegies ever written in the Spanish language), to the spiritual eroticism of his love poems, and the ...

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Miguel Hernandez

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Miguel Hernández is, along with Antonio Machado, Juan Ramón Jiménez, and Federico García Lorca, one of the greatest Spanish poets of the twentieth century. This volume spans the whole of Hernández’s brief writing life, and includes his most celebrated poems, from the early lyrics written in traditional forms, such as the moving elegy Hernández wrote to his friend and mentor Ramon Sijé (one of the most famous elegies ever written in the Spanish language), to the spiritual eroticism of his love poems, and the heart-wrenching, luminous lines written in the trenches of war. Also included in this edition are tributes to Hernández by Federico García Lorca, Pablo Neruda (interviewed by Robert Bly), Rafael Alberti, and Vicente Aleixandre. Pastoral nature, love, and war are recurring themes in Hernández’s poetry, his words a dazzling reminder that force can never defeat spirit, that courage is its own reward.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In Miguel’s earthy and wild poetry all the extravagances of color, of perfume, and of the voice of the Spanish Levant came together, with the exuberance and the fragrance of a powerful and virile youth.” —Pablo Neruda

“Miguel Hernández sang in his deep voice and his singing was as though all the trees were singing.” —Octavio Paz

“In Don Share’s translations of Miguel Hernández, there is a sense of shared elation between reader and translator that confirms the delight of exact sensation when the poem feels transmitted by that cautious and subtle alchemy that is the translator’s skill.” —Derek Walcott
“The consumate poet of light, darkness, soul, time, death.” —Willis Barnstone
“The apparent simplicity of his poems, which speak eloquently of love, poverty and hope, turned Hernández into a popular figure who was elevated to cult status.” —El Pais
“Raw, passionate, despairing and celebratory.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“What a victory it is to watch springing forth from our murky thicket of half-commercialized poetry the silver boar of Hernández's words—to see the world of paper part so as to allow the language tusks and shoulders to emerge, shining, pressed forward by his genius.” —Robert Bly
“One of the great talents of the century.” —Philip Levine, The Kenyon Review
“ A cherished example of why great poetry is timeless." —Ray Gonzalez, Bloomsbury Review

Publishers Weekly
Vivid, often volatile imagery describes wrenching emotions and events in The Selected Poems of Miguel Hern ndez: A Bilingual Edition, translated and edited by Ted Genoways (ed., Burning the Hymnal). Hern ndez (1910-1941), a Spanish poet constantly plagued by Franco's dictatorial regime, spent his adult life in and out of prison, worrying about his destitute wife and child and unable to reach the larger literary world thanks to censorship. Though other Spanish-speaking poets, such as Neruda, and the broader Spanish-speaking world, read him passionately, Hern ndez died in prison at age 31 of tuberculosis. Raw, passionate, despairing and celebratory, these poems are a true discovery. Other contributing translators include James Wright, Robert Bly (who also provides a foreword), Edwin Hoenig and Philip Levine. Photos. ( Nov.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590176290
  • Publisher: New York Review Books
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,469,388
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 4.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Miguel Hernández Gilabert (1910–1942) was born into a poor family in the city of Orihuela in southern Spain. His father raised goats and sheep, and Hernández was brought up to be a shepherd. At age eleven, he entered the Jesuit Colegio de Santo Domingo, where he learned to read and write, and started to compose poems whose uncanny virtuosity and wild inspiration earned the admiration of Pablo Neruda and Federico García Lorca. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, his poetry took on a new public dimension, and Hernández would soon enlist in the Republican Army. In 1937, he married Josefina Manresa Marhuenda, the love of his life. The couple lost their first son to malnutrition; a second, Manuel Miguel, was born in 1939. After the defeat of the Republic, Hernández was condemned to death for his poetry by Francisco Franco, who called him “an extremely dangerous man,” a sentence that was subsequently reduced lest he become a martyr like Lorca. Hernández, imprisoned under brutal conditions and suffering from an advanced case of tuberculosis, continued to write until his death on March 28, 1942; he was thirty-one years old.

Don Share is the senior editor of Poetry magazine. His books of poetry include Squandermania, Union, and most recently, Wishbone. He is the editor of Seneca in English, Bunting’s Persia, and with Christian Wiman, The Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine. His translations of Miguel Hernández were awarded the Times Literary Supplement Translation Prize and the Premio Valle

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Read an Excerpt

A man-eating knife
A man-eating knife with a sweet, murdering wing keeps up its flight and gleams all around my life.
A twitching metal glint flashes quickly down,
pricks into my side,
and makes a sad nest in it.
My temples, flowery balcony of a younger day,
are black, and my heart,
my heart is turning grey.
Such is the evil ability of this enveloping beam that I go back to my youth like the moon goes to a city.
I gather with my eyelashes salt from my soul, salt from my eye,
and gather blossoming spiderwebs of all my sadnesses.
Where can I be that I will not find loss?
Your destiny is the beach,
my calling is the sea.
To rest from this hurricane work of love or hell is impossible, and the pain makes sorrow last and last.
But at last I will win out,
worldly bird and ray,
heart, because in death there is no doubt.
So go on, knife, and slash and fly: and then one day time will yellow on my photograph.
Lightning that never ends
Will this lightning never end, that fills my heart with exasperated wild beasts and furious forges and anvils where even the freshest metal shrivels?
Will it never quit, this stubborn stalactite,
tending its stiff tufts of hair like swords and harsh bonfires inside my heart, which bellows and cries out?
This lightning never ends, or drains away: from me alone it sprang, it trains on me alone its madness.
This obstinate rock sprouts from me, and turns on me the insistence of its rainy, shattering bolts.
Your heart is a frozen orange
Your heart is a frozen orange.
No light gets in; it is resinous, porous,
golden: the skin promises good things to the eye.
My heart is a feverish pomegranate of clustered crimson, its wax opened,
which could offer you its tender pendants lovingly, persistently.
But how crushing it is to go to your heart and find it frosted with sheer, terrifying snow!
On the fringes of my grief a thirsty handkerchief hovers, hoping to drink down my tears.
You threw me a bitter lemon
You threw me a bitter lemon from a hand so warm and pure that I tasted the bitterness without spoiling its architecture.
With a yellow jolt, my sweet and lazy blood turned hot, possessed,
and so I felt the bite of the tip of that long, firm teat.
But glancing at you and seeing the smile that this lemon condition produced
(so at odds with my greed and guile),
my blood blacked out inside my shirt,
and through that porous golden breast
I felt a pointed, dazzling hurt.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword: Miguel Hernandez at This Moment
Translation Credits
My Idea of a Poem 2
The Bull 22
The Bullfighter 24
The Barber 26
Oven and Moon 28
Undertaker and Cemetery 30
Summer War 32
A knife that eats flesh 36
Will this beam of light 40
While you were guiding home a school of sharks 42
You threw me a lemon 44
Your heart? - it is a frozen orange 46
Overshadowed by pain, nearly black 48
After having dug up this fallow site 50
From your feet where loveliness ends 52
It would be less painful 54
I have accustomed these bones to grief 56
It kills me, you're so pure and chaste 58
I have an affection for your voice 60
My heart can't go on any longer 62
Sad, sonorous, silence of metal 64
I call myself clay though Miguel is my name 66
If blood too, like hair 70
The bull knows at the end of the fight 72
Perhaps now, of their own volition 74
I know to see and hear a sad vexation 76
No. I will not conform. But I despair 78
Do you recall that neck, a memory ago? 80
I cast the net, scatter the seed's stock 82
Like the bull I was born for doom and pain 84
It tires me so much to step 86
To the pouring of your voice's 88
The peasants ramble down a single path 90
Rainy eyes, like storm showers 92
Death, enclosed in a bull's hide 94
Elegy 96
Final Sonnet 100
Elegy 116
My Blood Is a Road 122
Death's Neighbor 128
Smile at Me 134
Dawn of the Hatchets 138
Bloody Fate 142
Have Plenty of Heart 148
First Elegy 156
Sitting upon the Dead 164
Winds of the People 170
The Olive Harvesters 174
The Plowboy 178
Gather This Voice 182
To the International Soldier Fallen in Spain 192
Sweat 194
Song of the Soldier Husband 198
Worthy of Being a Commander 204
Memorial to the 5th Regiment 212
Song of the Antiaircraft Gunner 218
War Lyric 222
First Song 228
The Soldier and the Snow 230
The Wounded Man 234
Hunger 238
The Letter 244
The Prisons 250
July 18, 1936 - July 18, 1938 256
The Train of the Wounded 258
Mother Spain 262
Last Song 266
The cemetery lies near 280
What does the bitter wind want? 282
Waltz Poem of Those in Love and Inseparable Forever 284
You were like a young fig tree 286
The sun, the rose, and the child 288
Each time I pass 290
A photograph 292
Carry me to the cemetery 294
Grassblades, nettles 296
All the houses are eyes 298
Love climbed between us 300
Rustling eyelashes 302
The aged in the villages 304
To My Son 306
Everything is full of you 310
Sad wars 312
Child of Light and Shadow 314
from The Rain 324
Before Hatred 326
Mouth 332
Ascension of the Broom 336
After Love 338
The world is as it appears 342
War 346
Lullabies of the Onion 350
The Last Corner 356
To Sing 362
Lament of the Thirsting Man 366
To smile with the cheerful grief of the olive tree 368
Child of the Night 370
The man does not rest ... 374
I live in shadow, filled with light 376
Imagination's Tomb 378
Eternal Darkness 380
Epilogue: 1942 387
Gather This Voice ... 390
Notes 395
References 401
List of Contributors 403
Index of Titles and First Lines 405
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