After Translation: The Transfer and Circulation of Modern Poetics across the Atlantic

By Ignacio Infante | Go to book overview

3 / Queering the Poetic Body: Stefan George,
Federico García Lorca, and the Translational
Poetics of the Berkeley Renaissance

Guido, i’ vorrei che tu e Lapo ed io
Fossimo presi per incantamento…

—Purg. XI. 97

In Shelley’s beautiful sonnet, which translates it:

Guido, I would that Lapo, thou, and I,

Led by some strange enchantment, might ascend

A magic boat…

—Sonnet VI

In Robert Duncan’s version from among the sodomites:

Robin, it would be great if you, me and Jack Spicer
Were taken up in a sorcery with our mortal heads so turned
That life dimmed the light of that fairy ship…

—ROBIN BLASER, “Great Companion: Dante Alighiere”

In 1957, the San Francisco-based poet Jack Spicer (1925–1965) published After Lorca, Spicer’s first published poetic work that, as the title suggests, was inspired by the poetry of the Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca (1898–1936). After Lorca was published in San Francisco by White Rabbit Press, an independent publishing venture run by Joe Dunn, one of Spicer’s close friends at the time. After a series of attempts to find his own poetic voice, as well as his vocation as a poet—he refers to his early poems as meaningless “one night stands” (Collected Books, 61)—Spicer produced in After Lorca one of the most influential poetry collections produced by the poets and artists in the group generally referred to as the Berkeley or San Francisco Renaissance within the literary history of the United States. As I will demonstrate, the publication of After Lorca constitutes a particularly important event in the transatlantic

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