Antonio Machado, a school teacher and philosopher and one of Spain's foremost poets of the twentieth century, writes of the mountains, the skies, the farms and the sentiments of his homeland clearly and without narcissism: "Just as before, I'm interested/in water held in;/ but now water in the living/rock of my chest." "Machado has vowed not to soar too much; he wants to 'go down to the hells' or stick to the ordinary," Robert Bly writes in his introduction. He brings to the ordinary--to time, to landscape and stony earth, to bean fields and cities, to events and dreams--magical sound that conveys order, penetrating sight and attention. "The poems written while we are awake...are more original and more beautiful, and sometimes more wild than those made from dreams," Machado said. In the newspapers before and during the Spanish Civil War, he wrote of political and moral issues, and, in 1939, fled from Franco's army into the Pyrenees, dying in exile a month later. When in 1966 a bronze bust of Machado was to be unveiled in a town here he had taught school, thousands of people came in pilgrimage only to find the Civil Guard with clubs and submachine guns blocking their way. This selection of Machado's poetry, beautifully translated by Bly, begins with the Spanish master's first book, Times Alone, Passageways in the House, and Other Poems (1903), and follows his work to the poems published after his death: Poems from the Civil War (written during 1936 - 1939).
About the Author
ANTONIO MACHADO (1875-1939), school teacher and philosopher, and one of Spain's foremost poets, writes clearly and without narcissism of the mountains, the skies, the farms and the sentiments of his homeland. He brings to the ordinary -to time, to landscape and stony earth, to beanfields ad cities, to events and dreams - magical sound that conveys order, penetrating sight, and attention. ROBERT BLY, the translator, is also the author of ten books of poetry. Antonio Machado was a strong influence on his first book of poetry, Silence in the Snowy Fields. Bly has edited and translated works of Swedish, German, Norwegian, and Persian poetry, including that of Neruda and Rilke. He received the National Book Award for poetry in 1968. His home is in Moose Lake, Minnesota.
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