On Show after 80 Years, the Poetry Franco Couldn't Kill

Article excerpt

Murdered Spanish hero's key work to debut at New York exhibition

On 12 July 12, 1936, Spain's most translated poet and playwright, Federico Garca Lorca, left the manuscript of one of his key works, Poet In New York, on the desk of his editor Jos Bergamn in Madrid with a handwritten note on top: "Back Tomorrow".

But tomorrow never came. Instead of returning Lorca - part of the 'Generation of '27', an avant-garde artists collective that included his friends Salvador Dali and film-maker Luis Bunuel - went home to Granada, where he was murdered five weeks later by General Franco's death-squads as Spain tore itself apart in its three-year Civil War.

As for the Poet in New York manuscript, it was taken first to Paris then to central America by Bergamn as he and other Republicans went on the run from Franco. But shortly after an initial dual print run in 1940, the manuscript disappeared, with disputes lasting for decades over the accuracy of ensuing published versions.

Now, for the first time, those doubts should evaporate when the 96-page manuscript - located in 2003 when it was sold at Christies to the Federico Garca Lorca Foundation for 120,000 by an unemployed Mexican actress - finally goes on public view.

As from next Friday, 5 April, the manuscript will form part of the largest-ever North American exhibition of Garca Lorca's work, held in New York's Public Library and also containing drawings, photographs, letter and mementos from Lorca's six-month spell at Columbia University in 1929-30 such as his guitar and library card. Coinciding with the exhibition, new English and Spanish language versions of Poet In New York are also due to be published. …