ROOTS AND WINGS: Poetry From Spain 1900-1975 by Hardie--Ed. St. Martin

ROOTS AND WINGS: Poetry From Spain 1900-1975

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Spanish poetry in this century uniquely combines both primitive and sophisticated elements. It is as firmly rooted in folksongs and ballads as it is in wild surrealist imagery. In fact, surrealism, a French import, flowered more fruitfully in Spain than it did on home ground. The brilliant personalism and imaginative grace of Machado, JimÉnez, and Unamuno, the dazzling intensity of Lorca, the sweetness of Felipe, the disciplined fury of Hernández--these represent not only the glory of a particular nation but also a cultural force which has decisively influenced world literature, especially the poetry of our own country during the last twenty years. Hardie St. Martin's collection, the most comprehensive so far, is thus a landmark anthology. The full harvest is here. Moreover, it fittingly brings to prominence three unjustly neglected poets: Luis Cernuda, Bias de Otero, and JosÉ Angel Valente. Unfortunately, though most of the translations are quite beautiful--those by W. S. Merwin and Philip Levine being outstanding--others seem either far too literal or unmusical (often the rhyme schemes of the originals are cavalierly dispensed with), or else--even worse--tend to ""improve"" the text. For instance, Felipe's phrase, ""una maroma de lagrimas,"" becomes not ""a rope of tears"" but ""a tightrope of tears,"" which makes nonsense of the carefully wrought allusion to a rope on a water bucket in an abandoned well. The introductory essay is properly informative, the anthology is appropriately bilingual.

Pub Date: July 4th, 1976
Publisher: Harper & Row