Miguel Hernandezby 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 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.
- New York Review Books
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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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