Miguel Hernández is, along with Antonio Machado, Juan Ramón Jiménez, and Federico García Lorca, one of the greatest Spanish poets of the twentieth century. This volume spans the whole of Hernández’s brief writing life, and includes his most celebrated poems, from the early lyrics written in traditional forms, such as the moving elegy Hernández wrote to his friend and mentor Ramon Sijé (one of the most famous elegies ever written in the Spanish language), to the spiritual eroticism of his love poems, and the heart-wrenching, luminous lines written in the trenches of war. Also included in this edition are tributes to Hernández by Federico García Lorca, Pablo Neruda (interviewed by Robert Bly), Rafael Alberti, and Vicente Aleixandre. Pastoral nature, love, and war are recurring themes in Hernández’s poetry, his words a dazzling reminder that force can never defeat spirit, that courage is its own reward.
About the Author
Miguel Hernandez Gilabert (1910-1942) was born into a poor family in the city of Orihuela in southern Spain. His father raised goats and sheep, and Hernandez was brought up to be a shepherd. At age eleven, he entered the Jesuit Colegio de Santo Domingo, where he learned to read and write, and started to compose poems whose uncanny virtuosity and wild inspiration earned the admiration of Pablo Neruda and Federico Garcia Lorca. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, his poetry took on a new public dimension, and Hernandez would soon enlist in the Republican Army. In 1937, he married Josefina Manresa Marhuenda, the love of his life. The couple lost their first son to malnutrition; a second, Manuel Miguel, was born in 1939. After the defeat of the Republic, Hernandez was condemned to death for his poetry by Francisco Franco, who called him "an extremely dangerous man," a sentence that was subsequently reduced lest he become a martyr like Lorca. Hernandez, imprisoned under brutal conditions and suffering from an advanced case of tuberculosis, continued to write until his death on March 28, 1942; he was thirty-one years old.
Don Share is the senior editor of "Poetry" magazine. His books of poetry include "Squandermania," "Union," and most recently, "Wishbone." He is the editor of "Seneca in English," "Bunting's Persia," and with Christian Wiman, "The Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of" Poetry "Magazine." His translations of Miguel Hernandez were awarded the "Times Literary Supplement" Translation Prize and the Premio Valle
“In Miguel’s earthy and wild poetry all the extravagances of color, of perfume, and of the voice of the Spanish Levant came together, with the exuberance and the fragrance of a powerful and virile youth.” —Pablo Neruda
“Miguel Hernández sang in his deep voice and his singing was as though all the trees were singing.” —Octavio Paz
“In Don Share’s translations of Miguel Hernández, there is a sense of shared elation between reader and translator that confirms the delight of exact sensation when the poem feels transmitted by that cautious and subtle alchemy that is the translator’s skill.” —Derek Walcott
“The consumate poet of light, darkness, soul, time, death.” —Willis Barnstone
“The apparent simplicity of his poems, which speak eloquently of love, poverty and hope, turned Hernández into a popular figure who was elevated to cult status.” —El Pais
“Raw, passionate, despairing and celebratory.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“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.” —Robert Bly
“One of the great talents of the century.” —Philip Levine, The Kenyon Review
“ A cherished example of why great poetry is timeless." —Ray Gonzalez, Bloomsbury Review