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
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.
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.