Cover image for The selected poems of Miguel Hernández
Title:
The selected poems of Miguel Hernández
Author:
Hernández, Miguel, 1910-1942.
Uniform Title:
Poems. English & Spanish. Selections
Publication Information:
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
xxvi, 409 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780226327730
Format :
Book

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PQ6615.E57 A24 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

In the Spanish-speaking world, Miguel Hernández is regarded as one of the most important poets of the twentieth century-equal in distinction to Federico García Lorca, Pablo Neruda, and Octavio Paz. He has never received his just acclaim, however, in the English-speaking world, a victim of the artistic oppression exercised during the period of Francisco Franco's totalitarian regime. Determined to silence the writer Neruda fondly referred to as his "wonderful boy," Franco sentenced Hernández to death, citing as his crime only that he was "poet and soldier to the mother country." Despite the fact that complete and accurate versions of his work were difficult to obtain even in Spanish for nearly fifty years, Hernández went on to achieve legendary status.
Now, for the first time, Ted Genoways makes Hernández's extraordinary oeuvre available in an authoritative bilingual edition. Featuring some of the most tender and vigorous poetry on war, death, and social injustice written in the past century, nearly half of the poems in this volume appear in English for the first time, making it the most comprehensive bilingual collection of Hernández's work available. Arranged chronologically, The Selected Poems of Miguel Hernández presents Hernández's remarkable emotional range as well as his stylistic evolution from the Romantic shepherd poet to poet of the prison cell. Thorough annotations and introductory essays illuminate the biographical basis for many of Hernández's poems, while a foreword by Robert Bly and an afterword by Octavio Paz provide a striking frame for the work of this essential poet.

"What a victory it is to watch springing forth from our murky thicket of half-commercialized poetry the silver boar of Hernández's words-to see the world of paper part so as to allow the language tusks and shoulders to emerge, shining, pressed forward by his genius. This generous selection of Miguel Hernández's work, arranged, shepherded, and largely translated by Ted Genoways, is an immense gift for which all of us should be grateful."-from the Foreword by Robert Bly

"To gather Hernández's poetry in such a large volume is to bring one of the 20th century's most important poets to life again. Without Hernandez, the world community of poetry would not be what it is today. The Selected Poems must be read if vital poetry is to continue another 100 years, with Hernández's voice as a cherished example of why great poetry is timeless."--Ray González, Bloomsbury Review

"As Philip Levine write in The Kenyon Review , Hernández is 'one of the great talents of the century,' and this collection is a good place to discover (or rediscover) his moving verses."-- Virginia Quarterly Review

"Vivid, often volatile imagery describes wrenching emotions and events in The Selected Poems of Miguel Hernández: A Bilingual Edition . . . . Raw, passionate, despairing and celebratory, these poems are a true discovery."-- Publishers Weekly

"Arranged in three chronological sections, the poems presented are not the complete works, but they are a large and representative sampling of the best. This is certainly the most comprehensive bilingual edition of Hernández's poetry available. In addition to the poems, the editor includes eight illustrations, important prefatory materials, and a short list of references, and an epilogue by Octavio Paz."-- Choice


Author Notes

Little educated, Hernandez studiously imitated the style of Luis de Gongora in his first volume of poetry, published in 1933. In his best volume, The Unending Lightning (1936), he found his own voice, expressing powerful emotion in classical sonnet form.

After fighting for the republic during the civil war, Hernandez was imprisoned in a concentration camp, where he died of tuberculosis at age 32 in spite of international protests for his freedom. The Songbook of Absences (1938--41), written during his years as a political prisoner, is a painful record of his suffering on separation from his wife, his sorrow at the death of his son, and his yearning for the simple country life of his youth.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Vivid, often volatile imagery describes wrenching emotions and events in The Selected Poems of Miguel Hern ndez: A Bilingual Edition, translated and edited by Ted Genoways (ed., Burning the Hymnal). Hern ndez (1910-1941), a Spanish poet constantly plagued by Franco's dictatorial regime, spent his adult life in and out of prison, worrying about his destitute wife and child and unable to reach the larger literary world thanks to censorship. Though other Spanish-speaking poets, such as Neruda, and the broader Spanish-speaking world, read him passionately, Hern ndez died in prison at age 31 of tuberculosis. Raw, passionate, despairing and celebratory, these poems are a true discovery. Other contributing translators include James Wright, Robert Bly (who also provides a foreword), Edwin Hoenig and Philip Levine. Photos. ( Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Choice Review

The last decade has seen a significant renewed interest in Hernandez (1910-42), remarkable poet of the Spanish Civil War era. Essentially uneducated and theoretically unlettered, Hernandez left a considerable corpus of incisive poetry, most of which is only now coming to light. Suppressed by Franco for years, Hernandez's work was late in being introduced both to Spain and to the rest of the world. Genoways has assembled an excellent bilingual volume of the poet's most important production. Translating many poems himself and including also fine translations by Willis Barnstone, Edwin Honig, and others, Genoways obviously chose the best of sometimes multiple translations. Arranged in three chronological sections, the poems presented are not the complete works, but they are a large and representative sampling of the best. This is certainly the most comprehensive bilingual edition of Hernandez's poetry available. In addition to the poems, the editor includes eight illustrations, important prefatory materials, a short list of references, and an epilogue by Octavio Paz. This work is especially valuable for comparative literature classes and for courses in 19th-century Spanish literature and history. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. R. B. Klein emeritus, University of Mississippi