I'm Speaking: Selected Poems

I'm Speaking: Selected Poems

I'm Speaking: Selected Poems

I'm Speaking: Selected Poems


Rafael Guillen's poems are infused with the land and the people of Andalusia. He lays before us all the harshness and beauty of his country -- the calm seashore and the violent revolutions, the wheat fields and the famine, the children and the laborers suffering through "days like hot coals". In light of this history, Guillen gives his words sharp edges tinged with a certain tender grief. A quiet force builds up behind the complex imagery and compact language as Guillen reflects on coming of age in Civil War Spain and situations of love, life, death, and faith in modern-day Granada, Paris, and the United States.

Sandy McKinney, working closely with Guillen, accurately captures the unusual syntax and emotional tone of the work of this important Spanish poet. Included here is McKinney's interview with the poet where Guillen explains his connection to the tradition of Andalusian poetry, a proud literary tradition filled with a "sensual delight in the beauty of particular words, in their sound as well as their significance".


Estoy diciendo amor. Una muchacha
parte un bombón de menta con los dientes
y me da la mitad.

Estoy diciendo vida. Cien mil hombres
quedan roncos gritando
que no ha sido penalty.

Estoy diciendo madre. Una mujer,
cantándome una copla de otros tiempos,
me limpia las narices mientras lloro.

Estoy diciendo patria. Un hombre joven
tiene sangre en las manos entreabiertas
y dice que él no ha sido.

Estoy diciendo muerte. Alguien corre
por las calles desiertas, media noche,
en busca de un notario.

Estoy diciendo fe. Un sacerdote
se descubre y eleva a Dios la vista
mientras pasa un entierro de primera.

Estoy diciendo Dios. Todas las cosas
me miran en silencio.

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