Federico García Lorca

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Federico García Lorca
Fotografía anónima MNCARS 4.jpg
García Lorca in 1932
Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca

(1898-06-05)5 June 1898
Died19 August 1936(1936-08-19) (aged 38)
Near Alfacar, Granada, Spain
EducationColumbia University
University of Granada
  • Playwright
  • poet
  • theatre director
MovementGeneration of '27
Parent(s)Federico García Rodríguez
Vicenta Lorca Romero
Federico García Lorca signature.svg

Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca[1] (Spanish pronunciation: [feðeˈɾiko ðel saˈɣɾaðo koɾaˈθon/koɾaˈson de xeˈsus ɣaɾˈθi.a/ɣaɾˈsi.a ˈloɾka]; 5 June 1898 – 19 August 1936), known as Federico García Lorca[a] (English: /ɡɑːrˌsə ˈlɔːrkə/ gar-SEELOR-kə), was a Spanish poet, playwright, and theatre director.

García Lorca achieved international recognition as an emblematic member of the Generation of '27, a group consisting of mostly poets who introduced the tenets of European movements (such as symbolism, futurism, and surrealism) into Spanish literature.[2][3] He was murdered by Nationalist forces at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.[4][5][6][7] His remains have never been found.

Life and career[edit]

Early years[edit]

García Lorca c. 1904

García Lorca was born on 5 June 1898, in Fuente Vaqueros, a small town 17 km west of Granada, southern Spain.[8] His father, Federico García Rodríguez, was a prosperous landowner with a farm in the fertile vega (valley) near Granada and a comfortable villa in the heart of the city. García Rodríguez saw his fortunes rise with a boom in the sugar industry. García Lorca's mother, Vicenta Lorca Romero, was a teacher. After Fuente Vaqueros, the family moved in 1905, to the nearby town of Valderrubio (at the time named Asquerosa). In 1909, when the boy was 11, his family moved to the regional capital of Granada, where there was the equivalent of a high school; their best-known residence there is the summer home called the Huerta de San Vicente, on what were then the outskirts of the city of Granada. For the rest of his life, he maintained the importance of living close to the natural world, praising his upbringing in the country.[8] All three of these homes—Fuente Vaqueros, Valderrubio, and Huerta de San Vicente—are today museums.[9][10][11]

García Lorca with his sister Isabel García Lorca in Granada c. 1914

In 1915, after graduating from secondary school, García Lorca attended the University of Granada. During this time his studies included law, literature, and composition. Throughout his adolescence, he felt a deeper affinity for music than for literature. When he was 11 years old, he began six years of piano lessons with Antonio Segura Mesa, a harmony teacher in the local conservatory and a composer. It was Segura who inspired Federico's dream of a career in music.[12] His first artistic inspirations arose from scores by Claude Debussy, Frédéric Chopin and Ludwig van Beethoven.[12] Later, with his friendship with composer Manuel de Falla, Spanish folklore became his muse. García Lorca did not turn to writing until Segura's death in 1916, and his first prose works, such as "Nocturne", "Ballade", and "Sonata", drew on musical forms.[13] His milieu of young intellectuals gathered in El Rinconcillo at the Café Alameda in Granada. In 1916 and 1917, García Lorca traveled throughout Castile, León, and Galicia, in northern Spain, with a professor of his university, who also encouraged him to write his first book, Impresiones y paisajes (Impressions and Landscapes—printed at his father's expense in 1918). Fernando de los Rios persuaded García Lorca's parents to let him move to the progressive, Oxbridge-inspired Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid in 1919, while nominally attending classes at the University of Madrid.[13]

As a young writer[edit]

Federico García Lorca with Salvador Dalí, Turó Park de la Guineueta, Barcelona, 1925

At the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, García Lorca befriended Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí and many other creative artists who were, or would become, influential across Spain.[13] He was taken under the wing of the poet Juan Ramón Jiménez, becoming close to playwright Eduardo Marquina and Gregorio Martínez Sierra, the Director of Madrid's Teatro Eslava.[13]

In 1919–20, at Sierra's invitation, he wrote and staged his first play, The Butterfly's Evil Spell. It was a verse play dramatising the impossible love between a cockroach and a butterfly, with a supporting cast of other insects; it was laughed off the stage by an unappreciative public after only four performances and influenced García Lorca's attitude to the theatre-going public for the rest of his career. He would later claim that Mariana Pineda, written in 1927, was, in fact, his first play. During the time at the Residencia de Estudiantes, he pursued degrees in law and philosophy, though he had more interest in writing than in study.[13]

García Lorca's first book of poems, Libro de poemas, was published in 1921, collecting work written from 1918, and selected with the help of his brother Francisco (nicknamed Paquito). They concern the themes of religious faith, isolation, and nature that had filled his prose reflections.[14] Early in 1922, at Granada García Lorca joined the composer Manuel de Falla in order to promote the Concurso de Cante Jondo, a festival dedicated to enhance flamenco performance. The year before Lorca had begun to write his Poema del cante jondo ("Poem of the Deep Song", not published until 1931), so he naturally composed an essay on the art of flamenco,[15] and began to speak publicly in support of the Concurso. At the music festival in June he met the celebrated Manuel Torre, a flamenco cantaor. The next year in Granada he also collaborated with Falla and others on the musical production of a play for children, La niña que riega la albahaca y el príncipe preguntón (The Girl that Waters the Basil and the Inquisitive Prince) adapted by Lorca from an Andalusian story.[16] Inspired by the same structural form of sequence as "Deep Song", his collection Suites (1923) was never finished and was not published until 1983.[14]

Postcard from Lorca and Dalí to Antonio de Luna, signed "Federico". "Dear Antonito: In the midst of a delicious ambience of sea, phonographs and cubist paintings I greet you and I hug you. Dalí and I are preparing something that will be 'moll bé.' Something 'moll bonic.' Without realizing it, I have deposited myself in the Catalan. Goodbye Antonio. Say hello to your father. And salute yourself with my finest unalterable friendship. You've seen what they've done with Paquito! (Silence)" Above, penned by Dalí: "Greetings from Salvador Dalí"

Over the next few years, García Lorca became increasingly involved in Spain's avant-garde. He published a poetry collection called Canciones (Songs), although it did not contain songs in the usual sense. Shortly after, Lorca was invited to exhibit a series of drawings at the Galeries Dalmau in Barcelona, from 25 June to 2 July 1927.[17] Lorca's sketches were a blend of popular and avant-garde styles, complementing Canción. Both his poetry and drawings reflected the influence of traditional Andalusian motifs, Cubist syntax, and a preoccupation with sexual identity. Several drawings consisted of superimposed dreamlike faces (or shadows). He later described the double faces as self-portraits, showing "man's capacity for crying as well as winning," in line with his conviction that sorrow and joy were as inseparable as life and death.[18]

Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
With the shadow at the waist
she dreams on her balcony,
green flesh, green hair,
with eyes of cold silver.

From "Romance Sonámbulo",
("Sleepwalking Romance"), García Lorca

Romancero Gitano (Gypsy Ballads, 1928), part of his Cancion series, became his best known book of poetry.[19] It was a highly stylised imitation of the ballads and poems that were still being told throughout the Spanish countryside. García Lorca describes the work as a "carved altar piece" of Andalusia with "gypsies, horses, archangels, planets, its Jewish and Roman breezes, rivers, crimes, the everyday touch of the smuggler and the celestial note of the naked children of Córdoba. A book that hardly expresses visible Andalusia at all, but where the hidden Andalusia trembles."[19] In 1928, the book brought him fame across Spain and the Hispanic world, and it was only much later that he gained notability as a playwright. For the rest of his life, the writer would search for the elements of Andaluce culture, trying to find its essence without resorting to the "picturesque" or the clichéd use of "local colour".[20]

His second play, Mariana Pineda, with stage settings by Salvador Dalí, opened to great acclaim in Barcelona in 1927.[13] In 1926, García Lorca wrote the play The Shoemaker's Prodigious Wife, which would not be shown until the early 1930s. It was a farce about fantasy, based on the relationship between a flirtatious, petulant wife and a hen-pecked shoemaker.

Lorca as a student at Columbia University, 1929

From 1925 to 1928, he was passionately involved with Dalí.[21] Although Dali's friendship with Lorca had a strong element of mutual passion,[b] Dalí said he rejected the erotic advances of the poet.[22] With the success of "Gypsy Ballads", came an estrangement from Dalí and the breakdown of a love affair with sculptor Emilio Aladrén Perojo. These brought on an increasing depression, a situation exacerbated by his anguish over his homosexuality. He felt he was trapped between the persona of the successful author, which he was forced to maintain in public, and the tortured, authentic self, which he could acknowledge only in private. He also had the sense that he was being pigeon-holed as a "gypsy poet". He wrote: "The gypsies are a theme. And nothing more. I could just as well be a poet of sewing needles or hydraulic landscapes. Besides, this gypsyism gives me the appearance of an uncultured, ignorant and primitive poet that you know very well I'm not. I don't want to be typecast."[20]

Growing estrangement between García Lorca and his closest friends reached its climax when surrealists Dalí and Luis Buñuel collaborated on their 1929 film Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog). García Lorca interpreted it, perhaps erroneously, as a vicious attack upon himself.[23] At this time Dalí also met his future wife Gala. Aware of these problems (though not perhaps of their causes), García Lorca's family arranged for him to make a lengthy visit to the United States in 1929–30.

In June 1929, García Lorca travelled to the US with Fernando de los Rios on the RMS Olympic, a sister liner to the RMS Titanic.[24] They stayed mostly in New York City, where Rios started a lecture tour and García Lorca enrolled at Columbia University School of General Studies, funded by his parents. He studied English but, as before, was absorbed more by writing than by study. At Columbia, he lived in John Jay Hall.[25][26] He also spent time in Vermont and later in Havana, Cuba.

His collection Poeta en Nueva York (Poet in New York, published posthumously in 1942) explores alienation and isolation through some graphically experimental poetic techniques and was influenced by the Wall Street crash which he personally witnessed.[27] [28] [29]

This condemnation of urban capitalist society and materialistic modernity was a sharp departure from his earlier work and label as a folklorist.[24] His play of this time, El público (The Public), was not published until the late 1970s and has never been published in its entirety, the complete manuscript apparently lost. However, the Hispanic Society of America in New York City retains several of his personal letters.[30][31]

The Second Republic[edit]

Statue of Lorca in the Plaza de Santa Ana, Madrid

García Lorca's return to Spain in 1930, coincided with the fall of the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera and the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic.[24] In 1931, García Lorca was appointed director of a student theatre company, Teatro Universitario La Barraca (The Shack). It was funded by the Second Republic's Ministry of Education, and it was charged with touring Spain's rural areas in order to introduce audiences to classical Spanish theatre free of charge. With a portable stage and little equipment, they sought to bring theatre to people who had never seen any, with García Lorca directing as well as acting. He commented: "Outside of Madrid, the theatre, which is in its very essence a part of the life of the people, is almost dead, and the people suffer accordingly, as they would if they had lost their two eyes, or ears, or a sense of taste. We [La Barraca] are going to give it back to them."[24] His experiences traveling through impoverished rural Spain and New York (particularly amongst the disenfranchised African-American population), transformed him into a passionate advocate of the theatre of social action.[24] He wrote "The theatre is a school of weeping and of laughter, a free forum, where men can question norms that are outmoded or mistaken and explain with living example the eternal norms of the human heart."[24]

While touring with La Barraca, García Lorca wrote his now best-known plays, the "Rural Trilogy" of Blood Wedding, Yerma and The House of Bernarda Alba, which all rebelled against the norms of bourgeois Spanish society.[24] He called for a rediscovery of the roots of European theatre and the questioning of comfortable conventions such as the popular drawing-room comedies of the time. His work challenged the accepted role of women in society and explored taboo issues of homoeroticism and class. García Lorca wrote little poetry in this last period of his life, declaring in 1936, "theatre is poetry that rises from the book and becomes human enough to talk and shout, weep and despair."[32]

Bust of Federico García Lorca in Santoña, Cantabria

Travelling to Buenos Aires in 1933, to give lectures and direct the Argentine premiere of Blood Wedding, García Lorca spoke of his distilled theories on artistic creation and performance in the famous lecture Play and Theory of the Duende. This attempted to define a schema of artistic inspiration, arguing that great art depends upon a vivid awareness of death, connection with a nation's soil, and an acknowledgment of the limitations of reason.[32][33]

As well as returning to the classical roots of theatre, García Lorca also turned to traditional forms in poetry. His last poetic work, Sonetos de amor oscuro (Sonnets of Dark Love, 1936), was long thought to have been inspired by his passion for Rafael Rodríguez Rapún, young actor and secretary of La Barraca.[34] Documents and mementos revealed in 2012, suggest that the actual inspiration was Juan Ramírez de Lucas, a 19-year-old with whom Lorca hoped to emigrate to Mexico.[35] The love sonnets are inspired by the 16th-century poet San Juan de la Cruz.[36] La Barraca's subsidy was cut in half by the rightist government elected in 1934, and its last performance was given in April 1936.

Lorca spent summers at the Huerta de San Vicente from 1926 to 1936. Here he wrote, totally or in part, some of his major works, among them When Five Years Pass (Así que pasen cinco años) (1931), Blood Wedding (1932), Yerma (1934) and Diván del Tamarit (1931–1936). The poet lived in the Huerta de San Vicente in the days just before his arrest and assassination in August 1936.[37]

Although García Lorca's drawings do not often receive attention, he was also a talented artist.[38][39]


Political and social tensions had greatly intensified after the murder of prominent monarchist and anti-Popular Front spokesman José Calvo Sotelo by Republican Assault Guards (Guardias de asalto).[40] García Lorca knew that he would be suspect to the rising right-wing for his outspoken socialist views.[36] Granada was so tumultuous that it had not had a mayor for months; no one dared accept the job. When García Lorca's brother-in-law, Manuel Fernández-Montesinos, agreed to accept the position, he was assassinated within a week. On the same day he was shot, 18 August, García Lorca was arrested.[41]

It is thought that García Lorca was shot and killed by Nationalist militia[42][43] on 19 August 1936.[44] The author Ian Gibson in his book The Assassination of García Lorca argues that he was shot with three others (Joaquín Arcollas Cabezas, Francisco Galadí Melgar and Dióscoro Galindo González) at a place known as the Fuente Grande ('Great Spring') which is on the road between Víznar and Alfacar.[45] Police reports released by radio station Cadena SER in April 2015, conclude that Lorca was executed by fascist forces. The Franco-era report, dated 9 July 1965, describes the writer as a "socialist" and "freemason belonging to the Alhambra lodge", who engaged in "homosexual and abnormal practices".[46][47][48]

Significant controversy exists about the motives and details of García Lorca's murder. Personal, non-political motives have been suggested. García Lorca's biographer, Stainton, states that his killers made remarks about his sexual orientation, suggesting that it played a role in his death.[49] Ian Gibson suggests that García Lorca's assassination was part of a campaign of mass killings intended to eliminate supporters of the Leftist Popular Front.[41] However, Gibson proposes that rivalry between the right-wing Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right (CEDA) and the fascist Falange was a major factor in Lorca's death. Former CEDA Parliamentary Deputy Ramón Ruiz Alonso arrested García Lorca at the Rosales's home, and was the one responsible for the original denunciation that led to the arrest warrant being issued.

Then I realized I had been murdered.
They looked for me in cafes, cemeteries and churches
.... but they did not find me.
They never found me?
No. They never found me.

From "The Fable And Round of the Three Friends",
Poet in New York (1929), García Lorca

It has been argued that García Lorca was apolitical and had many friends in both Republican and Nationalist camps. Gibson disputes this in his 1978 book about the poet's death.[41] He cites, for example, Mundo Obrero's published manifesto, which Lorca later signed, and alleges that García Lorca was an active supporter of the Popular Front.[50] García Lorca read out this manifesto at a banquet in honour of fellow poet Rafael Alberti on 9 February 1936.

Many anti-communists were sympathetic to García Lorca or assisted him. In the days before his arrest he found shelter in the house of the artist and leading Falange member Luis Rosales. Indeed, evidence suggests that Rosales was very nearly shot as well by the Civil Governor Valdés for helping García Lorca. Poet Gabriel Celaya wrote in his memoirs that he once found García Lorca in the company of Falangist José Maria Aizpurua. Celaya further wrote that Lorca dined every Friday with Falangist founder and leader José Antonio Primo de Rivera.[51] On 11 March 1937, an article appeared in the Falangist press denouncing the murder and lionizing García Lorca; the article opened: "The finest poet of Imperial Spain has been assassinated."[52] Jean-Louis Schonberg also put forward the 'homosexual jealousy' theory.[53] The dossier on the murder, compiled in 1936, at Franco's request and referred to by Gibson and others without having seen it, has yet to surface. The first published account of an attempt to locate García Lorca's grave can be found in a 1949, book by British Hispanist Gerald Brenan The Face of Spain.[54] However, the grave has remained undiscovered.

Search for remains[edit]

In the 20th century there was speculation as to the location of Lorca's remains, for example by the hispanists Gerard Brenan and Ian Gibson, but attempts to locate and identify began in the 21st century. By this time, advances in technology gave scope for identifying remains of victims of Francoist repression. The year 2000, saw the foundation of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory which grew out of the quest by a sociologist, Emilio Silva-Barrera, to locate and identify the remains of his grandfather, who was shot by Franco's forces in 1936.

Olive tree marking putative site of Lorca's burial, as it was in 1999

Three attempts have been made to locate Lorca's remains. The first, in 2009, in the García Lorca Memorial Park; the second, in 2014,[55] less than a kilometer from the first excavation and the last, in 2016, in Alfacar.[56]

In 2008, a Spanish judge opened an investigation into Lorca's death. The García Lorca family dropped objections to the excavation of a potential gravesite near Alfacar, but no human remains were found.[57][58] The investigation was dropped. A further investigation was begun in 2016, to no avail.[59]

In late October 2009, a team of archaeologists and historians from the University of Granada began excavations outside Alfacar.[60] The site was identified three decades previously by a man who said he had helped dig Lorca's grave.[61][62] Lorca was thought to be buried with at least three other men beside a winding mountain road that connects the villages of Víznar and Alfacar.[63]

The excavations began at the request of another victim's family.[64] Following a long-standing objection, the Lorca family also gave their permission.[64] In October 2009, Francisco Espínola, a spokesman for the Justice Ministry of the Andalusian regional government, said that after years of pressure García Lorca's body would "be exhumed in a matter of weeks."[65] Lorca's relatives, who had initially opposed an exhumation, said they might provide a DNA sample in order to identify his remains.[64]

In late November 2009, after two weeks of excavating the site, organic material that was believed to be human bones were recovered. The remains were taken to the University of Granada for examination.[66] But in mid-December 2009, doubts were raised as to whether the poet's remains would be found.[67] The dig produced "not one bone, item of clothing or bullet shell", said Begoña Álvarez, justice minister of Andalucia. She added, "the soil was only 40 cm (16in) deep, making it too shallow for a grave."[68][69] The failed excavation cost €70,000.[70]

In January 2012, a local historian, Miguel Caballero Pérez, author of "The last 13 hours of García Lorca",[71] applied for permission to excavate another area less than half a kilometre from the site, where he believes Lorca's remains are located.[72]

Claims in 2016, by Stephen Roberts, an associate professor in Spanish literature at Nottingham University, and others that the poet's body was buried in a well in Alfacar have not been substantiated.[73]

In 2021, it was reported that there would be an investigation of mass graves at Barranco de Viznar (a locality near Víznar where there is a memorial to Lorca). This project had the support of families who believe that relatives were buried there. The archaeologist directing the investigation explained that the poet was only one of hundreds of people whose remains might be there.[74]


Francisco Franco's Falangist regime placed a general ban on García Lorca's work, which was not rescinded until 1953. That year, a (censored) Obras completas (Complete Works) was released. Following this, Blood Wedding, Yerma and The House of Bernarda Alba were successfully played on the main Spanish stages. Obras completas did not include his late heavily homoerotic Sonnets of Dark Love, written in November 1935 and shared only with close friends. They were lost until 1983/4 when they were finally published in draft form. (No final manuscripts have ever been found.) It was only after Franco's death that García Lorca's life and death could be openly discussed in Spain. This was not only because of political censorship, but also because of the reluctance of the García Lorca family to allow publication of unfinished poems and plays prior to the publication of a critical edition of his works.

South African Roman Catholic poet Roy Campbell, who enthusiastically supported the Nationalists both during and after the Civil War, later produced acclaimed translations of Lorca's work. In his poem, The Martyrdom of F. Garcia Lorca, Campbell wrote,

Not only did he lose his life
By shots assassinated:
But with a hammer and a knife
Was after that
– translated.[75]


The poem De profundis in Leiden, Netherlands, the last of a set of 101 Wall poems in Leiden to be painted

In Granada, the city of his birth, the Parque Federico García Lorca is dedicated to his memory and includes the Huerta de San Vicente, the Lorca family summer home, opened as a museum in 1995. The grounds, including nearly two hectares of land, the two adjoining houses, works of art, and the original furnishings have been preserved.[76] There is a statue of Lorca on the Avenida de la Constitución in the city center, and a cultural center bearing his name is under construction[when?] and will play a major role in preserving and disseminating his works.

The Parque Federico García Lorca, in Alfacar, is near Fuente Grande; in 2009, excavations in it failed to locate Lorca's body. Close to the olive tree indicated by some as marking the location of the grave, there is a stone memorial to Federico García Lorca and all other victims of the Civil War, 1936–1939. Flowers are laid at the memorial every year on the anniversary of his death, and a commemorative event including music and readings of the poet's works is held every year in the park to mark the anniversary. On 17 August 2011, to remember the 75th anniversary of Lorca's assassination and to celebrate his life and legacy, this event included dance, song, poetry and dramatic readings and attracted hundreds of spectators.

At the Barranco de Viznar, between Viznar and Alfacar, there is a memorial stone bearing the words "Lorca eran todos, 18-8-2002" ("All were Lorca ..."). The Barranco de Viznar is the site of mass graves and has been proposed as another possible location of the poet's remains.

García Lorca is honored by a statue prominently located in Madrid's Plaza de Santa Ana. Political philosopher David Crocker reported in 2014 that "the statue, at least, is still an emblem of the contested past: each day, the Left puts a red kerchief on the neck of the statue, and someone from the Right comes later to take it off".[77]

In Paris, the memory of García Lorca is honored on the Federico García Lorca Garden, in the center of the French capital, on the Seine.

The Fundación Federico García Lorca, directed by Lorca's niece Laura García Lorca, sponsors the celebration and dissemination of the writer's work and is currently[when?] building the Centro Federico García Lorca in Madrid. The Lorca family deposited all Federico documents in their possession with the foundation, which holds them on their behalf.[78]

In the Hotel Castelar in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Lorca lived for six months in 1933, the room where he lived has been kept as a shrine and contains original writings and drawings of his.

In 2014, Lorca was one of the inaugural honorees in the Rainbow Honor Walk, a walk of fame in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood noting LGBTQ people who have "made significant contributions in their fields".[79][80][81]

See also[edit]

List of major works[edit]

Poetry collections[edit]

  • Impresiones y paisajes (Impressions and Landscapes 1918)
  • Libro de poemas (Book of Poems 1921)
  • Poema del cante jondo (Poem of Deep Song; written in 1921 but not published until 1931)
  • Suites (written between 1920 and 1923, published posthumously in 1983)
  • Canciones (Songs written between 1921 and 1924, published in 1927)
  • Romancero gitano (Gypsy Ballads 1928)
  • Odes (written 1928)
  • Poeta en Nueva York (written 1930 – published posthumously in 1940, first translation into English as Poet in New York 1940)[82]
  • Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías (Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías 1935)
  • Seis poemas galegos (Six Galician poems 1935)
  • Sonetos del amor oscuro (Sonnets of Dark Love 1936, not published until 1983)
  • Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter and Other Poems (1937)
  • Primeras canciones (First Songs 1936)
  • The Tamarit Divan (poems written 1931–34 and not published until after his death in a special edition of Revista Hispánica Moderna in 1940).
  • Selected Poems (1941)

Select translations[edit]

  • Poem of the Deep Song – Poema del Cante Jondo, translated by Carlos Bauer (includes original Spanish verses). City Lights Books, 1987 ISBN 0-87286-205-4
  • Poem of the Deep Song, translated by Ralph Angel. Sarabande Books, 2006 ISBN 1-932511-40-7
  • Gypsy Ballads: A Version of the Romancero Gitano of Federico García Lorca Translated by Michael Hartnett. Goldsmith Press 1973
  • "Poet in New York-Poeta en Nueva York," translated by Pablo Medina and Mark Statman (includes original Spanish, with a preface by Edward Hirsch), Grove Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8021-4353-2; 0-8021-4353-9
  • Gypsy Ballads, bilingual edition translated by Jane Duran and Gloria García Lorca. Enitharmon Press 2016
  • Sonnets of Dark Love - The Tamarit Divan, bilingual edition translated by Jane Duran and Gloria García Lorca with essays by Christopher Maurer and Andrés Soria Olmedo. Enitharmon Press 2016
  • Yerma, translated by Kathryn Phillips-Miles and Simon Deefholts, "The Clapton Press". 18 October 2020. 2020. ISBN 978-1-9996453-9-9


Short plays[edit]

  • El paseo de Buster Keaton (Buster Keaton goes for a stroll 1928)
  • La doncella, el marinero y el estudiante (The Maiden, the Sailor and the Student 1928)
  • Quimera (Dream 1928)


  • Viaje a la luna (Trip to the Moon 1929)


  • Lola, la Comedianta (Lola, the Actress, unfinished collaboration with Manuel de Falla 1923)

Drawings and paintings[edit]

  • Salvador Dalí, 1925. 160 × 140 mm. Ink and colored pencil on paper. Private collection, Barcelona, Spain
  • Bust of a Dead Man, 1932. Ink and colored pencil on paper. Chicago, Illinois

List of works based on García Lorca[edit]

Poetry and novels based on Lorca

Poetry and novels based on García Lorca[edit]

  • Greek surrealist poet and painter Nikos Engonopoulos wrote the poem: News on the death of Spanish poet Federico García Lorca on 19 August 1936 in the ditch of Camino de la Fuente, a poem that juxtaposes the actual death of a poet and the symbolic death of poets that are depreciated by their contemporaries.
  • Greek poet Nikos Kavvadias's poem Federico García Lorca, in Kavvadias' Marabu collection, is dedicated to the memory of García Lorca and juxtaposes his death with war crimes in the village of Distomo, Greece, and in Kessariani in Athens, where the Nazis executed over two hundred people in each city.
  • Allen Ginsberg's poem "A Supermarket in California" makes mention to Lorca mysteriously acting out with a watermelon.
  • Spanish poet Luis Cernuda, who is also part of the Generation of '27, wrote the elegy A un poeta muerto (F.G.L.).
  • Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti also wrote a poem about García Lorca in 1937 entitled Federico García Lorca.[83]
  • The New York-based Spanish language poet Giannina Braschi published El imperio de los sueños in 1988; Braschi's Empire of Dreams is a homage to Poet in New York.
  • Bob Kaufman and Gary Mex Glazner have both written tribute poems entitled Lorca.
  • Óscar Castro Zúñiga wrote Responso a García Lorca shortly after García Lorca's death.
  • Harold Norse has a poem, We Bumped Off Your Friend the Poet, inspired by a review of Ian Gibson's Death of Lorca. The poem first appeared in Hotel Nirvana,[84] and more recently in In the Hub of the Fiery Force, Collected Poems of Harold Norse 1934–2003[85]
  • The Spanish poet Antonio Machado wrote the poem El Crimen Fue en Granada, in reference to García Lorca's death.
  • The Turkish poet Turgut Uyar wrote the poem Three Poems For Federico García Lorca including a line in Spanish (obra completas)
  • The Irish poet Michael Hartnett published an English translation of García Lorca's poetry. García Lorca is also a recurring character in much of Hartnett's poetry, most notably in the poem A Farewell to English..
  • Deep image, a poetic form coined by Jerome Rothenberg and Robert Kelly, is inspired by García Lorca's Deep Song.
  • Vietnamese poet Thanh Thao wrote The guitar of Lorca and was set to music by Thanh Tung.
  • A Canadian poet named John Mackenzie published several poems inspired by García Lorca in his collection Letters I Didn't Write, including one titled Lorca's Lament.
  • In 1945, Greek poet Odysseas Elytis (Nobel Prize for Literature, 1979) translated and published part of García Lorca's Romancero Gitano.
  • Pablo Neruda wrote Ode to Federico García Lorca (1935) and Eulogy For Federico García Lorca.
  • Robert Creeley wrote a poem called "After Lorca" (1952)
  • Jack Spicer wrote a book of poems called After Lorca (1957).
  • The Russian poet Yevgeni Yevtushenko wrote the poem "When they murdered Lorca" ("Когда убили Лорку") in which he portrays Lorca as being akin to Don Quixote—an immortal symbol of one's devotion to his ideals and perpetual struggle for them.
  • Nicole Krauss includes a reference to Lorca in her novel Great House (2010): "It was then that he told me the desk had been used, briefly, by Lorca." (p. 11) The desk is the central metaphor for memory and the burden of inheritance, used throughout the novel. Also see page 13. Krauss also refers to Neruda the poet.
  • British poet John Siddique wrote "Desire for Sight (After Lorca)" included in Poems from a Northern Soul[86]
  • Indian poet Sunil Ganguly wrote a poem "Kobir Mirtyu-Lorca Smarane" (The death of a Poet- In the memory of Lorca)
  • Erie, Pennsylvania poet Sean Thomas Dougherty published a book of poems titled Nightshift Belonging to Lorca.[87]
  • Scott Ruescher, author of Sidewalk Tectonics, a 2009 chapbook from Pudding House Publications, won the 2013 Erika Mumford Prize (for poetry about travel and international culture) from the New England Poetry Club for his five-part poem, "Looking for Lorca".
  • American-born poet Edwin Rolfe's 1948 Spanish Civil War poem ″A Federico García Lorca″ characterizes Lorca as having ″recognized your [his] assassins,″ whom Rolfe derides as ″The men with the patent-leather hats and souls of patent-leather.″[88]
  • The Spanglish novel Yo-Yo Boing! by Giannina Braschi features a dinner party debate among Latin American poets and artists about Lorca's genius compared to other Spanish language poets.
Comics based on Lorca

Comics based on García Lorca[edit]

  • Dutch comics artist Tobias Tak visualized 20 poems by Lorca in his graphic novel Canciones (Scratch Books, 2017). The work has art direction by Joost Swarte and a foreword by Lorca translator Christopher Maurer from the Boston University.[89]
Musical works based on Lorca

Musical works based on García Lorca[edit]

  • Francis Poulenc composed in 1942/43 his Violin Sonata in memory of Lorca.
  • Heitor Villa-Lobos wrote his opera "Yerma" in 1955 on the original Spanish text of Lorca's homonimous play. The opera was premiered at the Santa Fe Opera in 1971, with Mirna Lacambra singing the title role.
  • Dutch composer Marjo Tal set several of Lorca’s works to music.
  • Greek composer Stavros Xarchacos wrote a large piece, a symphonic poem, a lament, with a complete Llanto por Ignatio Sanchez Mejias, by Lorca. Musical idiom of the piece is very true to Spain.
  • Spanish flamenco singer Camarón de la Isla's album La leyenda del tiempo contains lyrics written by or based on works by Lorca and much of the album is about his legacy.
  • Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas composed Homenaje a Federico García Lorca (a three- movement work for chamber orchestra) shortly after García Lorca's death, performing the work in Spain during 1937.[90]
  • The Italian-American composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco wrote Romencero Gitano for Mixed Choir and Guitar, Op. 152 based on poems from Poema del Cante Jondo.
  • The Italian avant-garde composer Luigi Nono wrote a triptych of compositions in 1951–53 collectively titled Tre epitaffi per Federico García Lorca (España en el corazón, Y su sangre ya viene cantando, and Memento: romance de la guardia civil española), and in 1954 composed a three-act ballet titled Il mantello rosso with an argument taken from García Lorca.
  • Chilean composer Ariel Arancibia composed in 1968 Responso a García Lorca based on a poem wrote by Óscar Castro Zúñiga shortly after García-Lorca's death. Responso a García Lorca was included in the LP "Homenaje a Óscar Castro Zúñiga" recorded by Los Cuatro de Chile and Hector and Humberto Duvauchelle.
  • The American composer George Crumb utilizes much of García Lorca's poetry in works such as his Ancient Voices of Children, his four books of Madrigals, and parts of his Makrokosmos. His four books of "Madrigals", for soprano and various instruments including: piccolo, flute, alto flute, harp, vibraphone, percussion, and contrabass, utilizes for its text twelve short segments of Lorca's poetry.
  • Composer Osvaldo Golijov and playwright David Henry Hwang wrote the one-act opera Ainadamar ("Fountain of Tears") about the death of García Lorca, recalled years later by his friend the actress Margarita Xirgu, who could not save him. It opened in 2003, with a revised version in 2005. A recording of the work released in 2006 on the Deutsche Grammophon label (Catalog #642902) won the 2007 Grammy awards for Best Classical Contemporary Composition and Best Opera Recording.
  • Finnish modernist composer Einojuhani Rautavaara has composed Suite de Lorca ("Lorca-sarja") and Canción de nuestro tiempo ("Song of our time") for a mixed choir to the lyrics of García Lorca's various poems (1972 and 1993).
  • The Pogues dramatically retell the story of his murder in the song 'Lorca's Novena' on their Hell's Ditch album.
  • Indonesian composer Ananda Sukarlan wrote two of his "Four Spanish Songs" based on the poems "Oda a Salvador Dali" and "Las Seis Cuerdas", premiered by soprano Mariska Setiawan in 2016 accompanied on the piano by the composer.
  • Composer Dave Soldier adapted multiple Lorca poems to country blues songs in idiomatic English in the Kropotkins' CD, Portents of Love album, which features a hand drawing of Lorca's face on the cover.
  • Reginald Smith Brindle composed the guitar piece "Four Poems of Garcia Lorca" (1975) and "El Polifemo de Oro" (for guitar, 1982) based on two Lorca poems Adivinanza de la Guitarra and Las Seis Cuerdas[91]
  • Composer Dmitri Shostakovich wrote the first two movements of his 14th Symphony based around García Lorca poems.
  • French composer Francis Poulenc dedicated his Violin Sonata (1943) to Lorca's memory, and quoted (in French) the first line of his poem 'Las Seis Cuerdas' (The Six Strings) - "The guitar makes dreams weep" - at the head of the second movement. He composed his Trois chansons de F Garcia Lorca in 1947.
  • The French composer Maurice Ohana set to music García Lorca's poem Lament for the death of a Bullfighter (Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías), recorded by the conductor Ataúlfo Argenta in the 1950s
  • Spanish rock band Marea made a rock version of the poem "Romance de la Guardia Civil española", named "Ciudad de los Gitanos".
  • Wilhelm Killmayer set five of his poems in his song cycle Romanzen in 1954.[92]
  • In 1959–1960 Austrian-Hungarian composer Iván Erőd composed La doncella, el marinero y el estudiante, a short opera of 15 minutes based almost exclusively on serial techniques, premiered in May 1960 in Innsbruck
  • In 1964 Sándor Szokolay adapted Lorca's play Blood Wedding into an opera, Vérnász, first produced in Budapest.
  • Wolfgang Fortner also wrote an operatic adaptation of Blood Wedding using a German translation by Enrique Beck, Die Bluthochzeit (1957).
  • In 1968, Joan Baez sang translated renditions of García Lorca's poems, "Gacela of the Dark Death" and "Casida of the Lament" on her spoken-word poetry album, Baptism: A Journey Through Our Time.
  • In 1975, American composer Ann Loomis Silsbee set Garcia Lorca’s poems to music in her composition “Huit Chants en Brun.”
  • American experimental folk-jazz musician Tim Buckley released an album called Lorca which included a song of the same name.
  • In 1984, Conrad Susa wrote "The Love of Don Perlimplin", a one-act opera (libretto by Susa and Richard Street) based on Lorca's play. It was commissioned by the Pepsico Summerfare and premiered at the State University of New York at Purchase.[93] The music is published by E.C. Schirmer Music Company.[94] In 1987, Susa completed "Landscapes and Silly Songs" for SATB unaccompanied chorus. The work was commissioned by the Concert Chorale of Houston and is published by E.C. Schirmer Music Company.[95]
  • In 1986, CBS Records released the tribute album Poetas En Nueva York (Poets in New York), including performances by Leonard Cohen, Paco de Lucía.[96]
  • In 1986 Leonard Cohen's English translation of the poem Pequeño vals vienés by García Lorca reached No. 1 in the Spanish single charts (as Take This Waltz, music by Cohen). Cohen has described García Lorca as being his idol in his youth, and named his daughter Lorca Cohen for that reason.[97]
  • Missa Lorca by Italian composer Corrado Margutti (2008) is a choral setting of the Latin Mass text and the poetry of Lorca. U.S. premiere, 2010.
  • In 1967, composer Mikis Theodorakis set to music seven poems of the Romancero Gitano – translated into Greek by Odysseas Elytis in 1945. This work was premiered in Rome in 1970 under the same title. In 1981, under commission of the Komische Oper Berlin, the composition was orchestrated as a symphonic work entitled Lorca. In the mid-1990s, Theodorakis rearranged the work as an instrumental piece for guitar and symphony orchestra.[98][99][100]
  • In 1986, Turkish composer Zülfü Livaneli composed the song Atlı in the album Zor Yıllar, using a Turkish translation of Lorca's Canción del Jinete by Melih Cevdet Anday and Sabahattin Eyüboğlu.
  • In 1989, American composer Stephen Edward Dick created new music for Lorca's ballad "Romance Sonambulo", based on the original text, and with permission from Lorca's estate. The piece is set for solo guitar, baritone and flamenco dance, and was performed in 1990 at the New Performance Gallery in San Francisco. The second performance took place in Canoga Park, Los Angeles in 2004.
  • 1n 1998, on the 100th anniversary of his birth, pianist Ben Sidran performed The Concert for García Lorca at García Lorca's home, Huerta de San Vicente, on his piano.
  • American composer Geoffrey Gordon composed Lorca Musica per cello solo (2000), utilizing themes from his 1995 three-act ballet The House of Bernarda Alba (1995), for American cellist Elizabeth Morrow.[101] The work was recorded on Morrow's Soliloquy CD on the Centaur label and was featured at the 2000 World Cello Congress. Three suites from the ballet, for chamber orchestra, have also been extracted from the ballet score by the composer.
  • Lorca was referenced in the song "Spanish Bombs" by English punk rock band The Clash on their 1979 album, London Calling.
  • The Spanish guitarist José María Gallardo Del Rey composed his 'Lorca Suite' in 2003 as a tribute to the poet. Taking Lorca's folksong compilations Canciones Españolas Antiguas as his starting point, José María Gallardo Del Rey adds the colour and passion of his native Andalucia, incorporating new harmonisations and freely composed link passages that fuse classical and flamenco techniques.
  • Catalán composer Joan Albert Amargós wrote Homenatje a Lorca for alto saxophone in piano. Its three movements are based on three Lorca poems: "Los cuatro muleros, Zorongo, and Anda jaleo".
  • Composer Brent Parker wrote Lorca's Last Walk for piano solo. This was on the Grade 7 syllabus of the Royal Irish Academy of Music's piano exams, 2003–2008.
  • Greek musician Thanasis Papakonstantinou composed Άυπνη Πόλη with part of Lorca's "Poeta en Nueva York", translated to Greek by Maria Efstathiadi.
  • Catalán composer Joan Albert Amargós wrote Homenatje a Lorca for alto saxophone in piano. Its three movements are based on three Lorca poems: "Los cuatro muleros, Zorongo, and Anda jaleo".
  • Argentine composer Roberto García Morillo composed Cantata No. 11 (Homenaje a García Lorca), 1988–89.
  • In 2000 a Greek rock group Onar composed a song based on Lorca's poem " La balada del agua del mar". Teresa Salgueiro from a Portuguese musical ensemble called Madredeus participates reading the poem during the song.
  • Ukrainian composer Tamara Maliukova Sidorenko (1919-2005) set several of Garcia Lorca’s poems to music.
  • British composer Simon Holt has set Lorca's words to music in Ballad of the Black Sorrow, for five solo singers and instrumental ensemble, and Canciones, for mezzo-soprano and instrumental ensemble. His opera The Nightingale's to Blame is based on Lorca's Amor de don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardín.
Theatre, film and television based on Lorca

Theatre, film and television based on García Lorca[edit]

  • Federico García Lorca: A Murder in Granada (1976) directed by Humberto López y Guerra and produced by the Swedish Television. In October 1980 the New York Times described the transmission of the film by Spanish Television in June that same year as attracting "one of the largest audiences in the history of Spanish Television".[102]
  • Playwright Nilo Cruz wrote the surrealistic drama Lorca in a Green Dress about the life, death, and imagined afterlife of García Lorca. The play was first performed in 2003 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The Cruz play Beauty of the Father (2010) also features Lorca's ghost as a key character.[103]
  • British playwright Peter Straughan wrote a play (later adapted as a radio play) based on García Lorca's life, The Ghost of Federico Garcia Lorca Which Can Also Be Used as a Table.
  • TVE broadcast a six-hour mini-series based on key episodes on García Lorca's life in 1987. British actor Nickolas Grace played the poet, although he was dubbed by a Spanish actor.
  • Rukmavati Ki Haveli (1991) an Indian feature film directed by Govind Nihalani is based on Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba.
  • There is a 1997 film called The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca, also known as Death in Granada, based on a biography by Ian Gibson. The film earned an Imagen Award for best film.
  • Miguel Hermoso's La luz prodigiosa (The End of a Mystery) is a Spanish film based on Fernando Macías' novel with the same name, which examines what might have happened if García Lorca had survived his execution at the outset of the Spanish Civil War.
  • British Screenwriter Philippa Goslett was inspired by García Lorca's close friendship with Salvador Dalí. The resulting biographical film Little Ashes (2009) depicts the relationship in the 1920s and 1930s between García Lorca, Dalí, and Luis Buñuel.[104]
  • American playwright Michael Bradford drama, Olives and Blood, produced by Neighborhood Productions at The HERE Art Center/Theatre, June 2012, focuses on the present day trouble one of the supposed murderers of Lorca.
  • Blood Wedding is the first part of a ballet / flamenco film trilogy directed by Carlos Saura and starring Antonio Gades and Cristina Hoyos (1981).
  • In a segment of the 2001 animated avant-garde film Waking Life, Timothy Levitch extemporizes on Lorca's poem Sleepless City (Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne).


  1. ^ According to Spanish naming customs, a person usually uses their father's surname as their main surname. As García is a very widely used name, García Lorca is often referred to by his mother's less-common surname, Lorca. See, for example, "Translating Lorca". New Statesman (UK). 10 November 2008. (A typical example of an article in English where "Lorca" is used in the headline and in most of the text, and "Federico García Lorca" is also stated in full.) Spanish conventions require his name to be listed under "G".
  2. ^ For more in-depth information about the Lorca-Dalí connection see Lorca-Dalí: el amor que no pudo ser and The Shameful Life of Salvador Dalí, both by Ian Gibson.


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  104. ^ Ian Gibson, La represión nacionalista de Granada en 1936 y la muerte de Federico García Lorca (1971), Guía de la Granada de Federico García Lorca (1989), Vida, pasión y muerte de Federico García Lorca (1998), Lorca-Dalí, el amor que no pudo ser (1999).


Further reading[edit]

  • Spanish translation: Auclair, Marcelle; García Lorca, Federico; Alberti, Aitana (trans.) (1972). Vida y Muerte de García Lorca (in Spanish). Mexico City: Ediciones Era. OCLC 889360. (411 pages). Includes excerpts from García Lorca's works.

External links[edit]