The Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) was only 38 years old when he was executed by nationalist partisans at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, at least in part because of his homosexuality. News of Lorca’s death galvanized the international community and led many young men and women to join the fight against Franco’s forces in Spain. To this day, Lorca’s poems and plays continue to engage readers, captivate audiences, and inspire writers, musicians, and social activists around the world.
In June 1929, Lorca made his first and only trip to the United States, supposedly to study English in New York City, but in reality in the hope of dispelling the crippling depression that had plagued him for months in the wake of a failed love affair. In mid-August, Lorca left his student quarters at Columbia University and traveled by overnight train to northern Vermont, where he spent ten days at a cottage beside Lake Eden with a handsome young Vermont poet and teacher named Philip Cummings. In the verdant New England countryside, far from the noise and crowds of the city, Lorca wrote a series of haunting and evocative poems that are among his most personal.
Although the nine months Lorca spent in New York have been extensively researched and analyzed, his visit to Vermont and the resulting impact on his life and work have been largely unexplored, until now. My book presents a new interpretation of the Vermont interlude based on recent findings about the people and places Lorca encountered at Lake Eden, his ongoing relationship with Cummings, and the many ways in which his Vermont experiences influenced the poems in his landmark collection, Poeta en Nueva York | Poet in New York.
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