Rafael Guillen's poems are infused with the land and the people of Andalusia. He lays before us all the harshness and beauty of his country - the calm seashore and the violent revolutions, the wheat fields and the famine, the children and the laborers suffering through "days like hot coals." In light of this history, Guillen gives his words sharp edges tinged with a certain tender grief. A quiet force builds up behind the complex imagery and compact language as Guillen reflects on coming of age in Civil War Spain and situations of love, life, death, and faith in modern-day Granada, Paris, and the United States. Sandy McKinney, working closely with Guillen, accurately captures the unusual syntax and emotional tone of the work of this important Spanish poet. Included here is McKinney's interview with the poet where Guillen explains his connection to the tradition of Andalusian poetry, a proud literary tradition filled with a "sensual delight in the beauty of particular words, in their sound as well as their significance."
Rafael Guillen was born in Granada, Spain, in 1933 and still calls the city his home. His many books of poetry include La configuracion de lo perdido: Antologia, 1957-1995, Versos del amor cumplido: Antologia 1956-1985, and Los estados transparentes. He is a major "Fifties Generation" poet, and his work has been widely translated. In 1994 he was awarded Spain's National Prize for Literature for Los estados transparentes after having been a finalist for the Critics' Prize."
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