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Published: July 24th 2014
This morning I began reading the 1928 book of poems Romancero Gitano
or Gypsy Ballads
by Federico Garcia Lorca. My interest was brought on by my visit to el Parque Garcia Lorca on Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately when I arrived, the museum was closed and apparently closes at 1:30 pm everyday! And I walked so far! That said, I spent a good amount of time strolling through the park and admiring the colors & the smell of the expansive and well-kept rose garden. I decided I wanted to learn more about Garcia Lorca and so, I spent some time Tuesday evening digging up more information. I learned that he was a well-known poet, dramatist & theater director From Granada although he had traveled quite a bit. He was executed during the Spanish Civil War and it's speculated that it was due to his liberal Marxist beliefs &/or his open homosexuality. Apparently he was good friends with Salvadore Dali and they had a very passionate relationship but he fell into a deep depression when Dali denied his advances. This was also a very dark period in which he feared that he had been pigeon-holed as a gypsy poet. After reading a bit about
him, I decided to check out some of his poetry. This was also a bit of a personal test of my Spanish reading comprehension. Although my conversational Spanish is great and only getting better, I very seldom read Spanish literature, let alone poetry.
So after diving into the book, I got to thinking a bit about poetry and the poetry that has been my trip thus far. There are no rules in the world of poetry that state that the words have to be elaborate or that they have to tell a grand story filled with adventure. It's all about the evocation of meaning and that might be different for everyone. For example, while hanging out with Pablo the other night, I began talking--who knows about what! Sometimes I just ramble. But I know I threw in a story about how I managed to spill soda on my white softball pants on picture day when I was a kid. I explained how my dad took me by the hand and had me sit in one of the chalk barrels that they used to line the softball fields with. There he threw chalk onto my pants until you
could no longer see the soda stain. For Pablo this was a very interesting and bizarre story. For one, el futbol is the sport most followed in Spain and little is known (at least from Pablo's perspective) about baseball (or softball) other than that Americans seem to love it. And for two, this concept of sitting me in a barrel and throwing chalk on me was just incomprehensible. After I completed my tangent, I guess I expected a reaction but Pablo just sat there looking straight ahead (I swear there was a reason I got on this topic--I just don't remember it now.) After about 30 seconds he started laughing. I asked him what he was laughing about and he replied, "you talk about the most interesting things. You say things most people don't bother to say." I wasn't sure how to take that at first. Was he saying I talk about trivial and pointless things? But later when we stepped into a chucheria (snack shop selling chips and loads of junk food & candy) he explained that it is a very endearing quality. That's when he told me about the word "prenda." Now I've heard this word before probably
from my Cuban grandmother which in my understanding meant a jewel, or a piece of jewelry; an accessory. But Pablo said, "it's one of my favorite words to use to describe someone. You're a prenda. It's an all-encompassing word meaning genuine, good-natured, kind, an overall good person." So there we were in the chucheria buying junk and he assured me that my junk, my trivial conversational fluff was in fact beautiful poetry!
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