POST WAR SPANISH POETRYY
 



 

First issue of Escorial

 
    1.-  Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) did violently break our literary panorama: many writters died then shot down, prisoners or because of natural reasons. Others will go on with his works from exile. Only a few number of those who wrote after war were already beginners before 1936.
 
   Poetry by victorious was initially the best spread. We must emphasize José María Pemán's name (Cadiz, 1898-1981) author of Poem of the Beast and the Angel (1938), a curious mixing that we can call politic epic.
 
   The most frequent in this period is love-poetry, religious and imperial one. The latter is often projected on descriptions of towns or places that stood in Civil War.
 
    2.-  A first trial of conciliation was made in 1940 after the creation of review Escorial, edited by Dionisio Ridruejo (Soria, 1912-1975).
 
   Initially devoted to Franco's governement, he evolved from works like Poetry under arms (1940), to more tolerant attitudes, after a personal crisis ca. 1940-41.

First issue of Garcilaso
   The most representative review of Post War under Franco could be Garcilaso. Creative Youth (1943-46), edited by José García Nieto (Oviedo, 1914). In spite of its rhetorical, classicist and scarcely politic poetry, that imitates Germán Bleiberg's sonnets, it admited different kinds of collaborations, that amplified its initial purposes.
 
   Review Espadaña (León, 1944-1951) was radically opposed to this one. It was founded by Antonio G. de Lama, Eugenio de Nora and Victoriano Crémer. Its philosophy and political engagement made it be called tremendist and made its collaborators be in danger in the face of Franco's régime.

First issue of Espadaña with a poem by Crémer

 

Portada de Poetry under arms
    3.-  A group of Falangist poets, who looked for an intimate poetry direct and easy, arised from the first of the reviews above-named. They were seen as part of an uncertain Generation of 1936, but we prefer the tag of Escorial Group, because of the review from which they departed.
 
   It was composed by the above-named Dionisio Ridruejo; Luis Felipe Vivanco, born in El Escorial (Madrid 1907-1975), and author of books like Continuation of Life (1949) Leopoldo Panero (León, 1909-1962), author of Written in Each Instant(1949).

Modern Edition of The Glowing House

   Luis Rosales (Granada, 1910-1992) wrote The Glowing House -first issued in 1949 with additions in 1967-. Luis reflects a collection of familiar experiences in this book that can be seen as one of the best lyric works of Post-War Spanish Poetry.


Cover of Sons of Wrath
    4.-  About 1944 we can date the most violent awakening of spanish poetry in Sons of Wrath by Dámaso Alonso (1898-1990), heartbreaking book showing the stream of not-rooted poetry. These poems are not based in identity features as: religion, native land, political party or family. Their colloquial accent can be asociated to existentialism -distress because of existence- frequent in the fifth decade.
 
   Another poet of 27 group, Vicente Aleixandre, will mark a direction for the lyric of this time with Shadow of Paradise (1944), expressing pain of life as an image of a lost paradise and showing human race far from its destination.
 
    5.-  Two of the founders of Espadaña review must be pointed up: Victoriano Crémer (Burgos, 1906) and Eugenio de Nora (Leon, 1923). Both were authors of a compromised poetry rooted in problems of its time. De Nora published in a clandestine way, in 1946, Captive People, dealing with Civil War and with the defeated's pain. Both wrote a humanized impure poetry following the tendency that Pablo Neruda practised in the 30s. This literature dealing with laborers problems had often troubles with Franco censure.
 
    6.-  The most important stress in post war poetry came with the work of Blas de Otero (Bilbao, 1916-1979). In 1942 he published his Spiritual Songs, clearly following Saint John of the Cross, whose anniversary was celebrated that year.
 
   A spiritual desease made him create an expresionist, not-rooted and existential poetry.
 
    Now Wildly human Angel (1950) and Drumroll of conscience (1951) appear, both compiled in 1958, under a title that joined the first syllable of the former book to the last syllable of the latter: Ancia (1958), with 36 added poems. Blas de Otero is really clever writting sonnets, as the first one: "To the huge majority". His work turns against the religious poetry of his time and against the traditional image of God.


Contemplation of time (1948)


Second edition of Ancia


Verse and prose (1974),
anthology elaborated
by its author
   From 1951 Blas de Otero belonged to Comunist Party from Spain and visited the U.S.S.R., China and other countries. He published I ask for Peace and Word (1955) and Dealing with Spain, (Ruedo Ibérico, 1964), among others. He wrote social poetry, devoted to the huge majority, collected in anthologies like Country (1955-1970) (1971) or Verse and prose (1974).poetry.
 
   He has been well remembered by contemporary poets and singers as Hilario Camacho in "Just Like You" or Paco Ibañez.
    7.-  Two ways of existential poetry must be emphasized: the former following a metaphysical style, was cultivated by Jose Luis Hidalgo (Santander, 1919-1947). He began his carrer with the book Root (1943). A year before his death appeared The dead men, containig religious poems.
 
   The latter way -a social one- is represented by José  Hierro, born and dead in Madrid. Publication of his book The 42 Call-up was a reference for poets who, like him, published his poems in reviews like Corcel and Proel. Poetry by Pepe Hierro reflects his present moment, his here and now and has been called report. In 1964 he published his Book of hallucinations, showing a second way of composing (hallucination) and a special sensibility towards reality. He has almost finished his poetical carrer with Notebook of New York.

Anthología of
José Hierro's Poems (1957)

Anthology by
Carlos Bousoño
   The religious and existential stream that can be read in Blas de Otero, takes a metaphysical tone in the work of poets like Vicente Gaos (Valencia, 1919-1980), author of Archangel of my Night (1944), or Carlos Bousoño (Asturias, 1923). José María Valverde (1926) produced a rooted in Christianity poetry. His book God's Man (1945) deals with religious problems and follows Saint John of the Cross, whose anniversary -as has been told- was important for spanish poetry after 1942.
 
    8.-  Rafael Múgica signed his better works as Gabriel Celaya (Guipuzcoa, 1911-1991). Although he began to write before spanish civil war books like Things as they are (1949) and Cards shown (1951) he was devoted to a social poetry, direct and easy in its expression and often prosaic, that gave its better fruits in Iberic Songs (1955), probably his most elaborated work. Celaya compiled his own anthology in 1975: Poetic Itinerary.

Poetic Itinerary by
Gabriel Celaya

Anthology by Carlos
Edmundo de Ory
    9.-  A poetical renewal was being announced from the end of the 40s.
 
   Postism appears following the last vanguard streams from the beginning of the XXth. century. Its manifest was read in journals as ABC in 1945. It was supported by Eduardo Chicharro and Carlos Edmundo de Ory (Cádiz, 1923). Its name was created from the latin preposition post -'after'- in order to point up that postism was the last spanish vanguard movement. More or less, it follows vanguard in its features: poetry as a game, art for art's sake, linguistic creations, grammatical ones... In spite of beeing a not-political poetry it found troubles from Franco's censure.
 
   In a second phase, postism was cultivated by poets as Ángel Crespo (1926-1997), born in Ciudad Real.
   A revision of surrealism was made in the very original poetry by Miguel Labordeta (Aragón, 1921-1969). Fancy is the most remarkable note in his work, that the poet's brother -José Antonio Labordeta, poet and singer himself- called heterodox. Sunk 25 (1948) has been seen as one of the best achievements by Miguel. Surrealistic vision is associated with social and politic themes.
 
   This neosurrealistic stream was also cultivated by Camilo José Cela (Galicia, 1916-2002), in a book, whose title was taken from Góngora: Walking on the uncertain daylight (1945).

First volume of
Complete Poems
by Miguel Labordeta
   But the most surprising author in this stream was the catalan Juan Eduardo Cirlot (1916-1973). Fond of vanguard and surrealism, Cirlot went further over and looked for personality signs and clues in subconscious. To get it he took elements from simbolism and integrated them in a cultural domain, bigger than the usual in his time. After Sumerian Elegy (1949) he wrote nearly fifty works more, after 1943. Many of them were posthumously printed.

Second edition of
Song Review
   Review Song (Córdoba, 1947-49 y 1954-57) was edited by the group of poets thus called. It connected with immediate past -group of 27- and classic poetry, especially with Góngora's and the poetry in Cordoba.
 
   Pablo García Baena (1923) was born in this city and has been studied as a precursor for younger generations. He added a touch of sensuality -following Góngora- to his special sensibility and cultivated the religious themes painting Christian ceremonies and processions. In 1946 he published Hidden Mutter. His prestige has grown up and he received Prince of Asturias Prize for Letters in 1984.
 
   His comrades in this group and stream were Ricardo Molina (1917-1969), who looked for a transcendental note in books like Corimbo (1949). Another poet was Juan Bernier.
   10.- Consulted Anthology of Young Spanish Poetry (1952), edited by Francisco Ribes, points up the end of a poetical style.
 
   Though social poetry went on, new authors are different.

Cover for
The Verb's Persons
   Years 50s and 60s introduce a generation who practices poetry as knowledge rather than poetry as communication, as was the usual up to now.
 
   Between the poets of this stream we can see a Poetical School of Barcelona headed by Jaime Gil de Biedma (1929-1990) who collected the most part of his works in a volume called The Verb's Persons (1975). There we can read subtle analysis of daily situations and duties with poets as Luis Cernuda. His social and personal criticism is usually merged with a brilliant sense of humor and a good knowledge of spanish and anglosaxon poetical tradition.
 
   Other catalan writers were José Agustín Goytisolo (1928-1999), poet of simplicity and warth, and Carlos Barral (1928-1989). Both wrote about individual situations without disregarding poetic form. The latter was also an important publisher.
 
   Far from Barcelona lives Ángel González (Oviedo, 1925), author of a social poetry compiled in Word on Word (last ed. 1986), following Antonio Machado's poetry.
 
   José Manuel Caballero Bonald (Jerez de la Frontera, 1926), makes his lyric rich considering the passage of time.
 
   Francisco Brines (Valencia, 1932) stands out because of his ability to take conclusions out of incidents. From apparently frivolous stories he ends with ponderings on death. This way is also cultivated by Carlos Sahagún (Alicante, 1938)

Carlos Barral

An introduction to
Ángel González

Material Memory (1979)
   Claudio Rodríguez (Zamora, 1934-1999) praises rural world and harmony in community in an euphoric way from his first book of poems Present of drunkenness (1954), composed by verses of 11 and 7 syllables that remember Antonio Machado.
 
   Félix Grande (Extremadura, 1937) joined simplicity to passion with an experimental touch in books as Blanco spirituals (1967).
 
   José Ángel Valente (Orense, 1929-2000) probably marks the inflexion point between social poetry and that of the next generation of the novisimos.

D.Miguel Pérez Rosado.
Ph.Doctor in Philology