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Poetry Of Discovery

Poetry Of Discovery: The Spanish Generation of 1956-1971

Copyright Date: 1982
Edition: 1
Pages: 246
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  • Book Info
    Poetry Of Discovery
    Book Description:

    A leading critic of contemporary Spanish poetry examines here the work of ten important poets who came to maturity in the immediate post-Civil War period and whose major works appeared between 1956 and 1971: Francisco Brines; Eladio Cabañero; Angel Crespo; Gloria Fuertes; Jaime Gil de Biedma; Angel González; Manuel Mantero; Claudio Rodríguez; Carlos Sahagún; and José Angel Valente.

    Although each of these poets has developed an individual style, their work has certain common characteristics: use of the everyday language and images of contemporary Spain, development of language codes and intertextual references, and, most strikingly, metaphoric transformations and surprising reversals of the reader's expectations. Through such means these poets clearly invite their readers to join them in journeys of poetic discovery.

    Andrew P. Debicki's is the first detailed stylistic analysis of this generation of poets, and the first to approach their work through the particularly appropriate methods developed in "reader-response" criticism.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4768-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. 1 The Generation of 1956–1971
    (pp. 1-19)

    Beginning in the late 1950s and extending through the 1960s, there appeared in Spain several young poets whose work reveals a high degree of originality, coupled with significant value. Because they were writing in a seemingly direct language and dealing with themes that had also been dealt with by earlier writers, these poets were at first considered mere continuers of the general tendencies of post-Civil War verse and were not accorded the importance they deserved. But as their work has grown and unfolded, as their ideas on poetry have been expressed and linked to their work, and as critics have...

  5. 2 FRANCISCO BRINES: Text and Reader
    (pp. 20-39)

    The work of Francisco Brines exemplifies some of the main features of Spanish poetry in the 1960s. Meditative and philosophical, often centered on the themes of time and death and on the reactions that these evoke, Brines’s poetry is also marked by the very careful and artistic use of seemingly ordinary language. Critics have observed the symbolic nature of his work and its way of giving impact to seemingly common vignettes and expressions by juxtapositions, superpositions, and linguistic devices.¹

    Yet the studies so far published on Brines have not managed to explain his work adequately, to pin down fully the...

  6. 3 CLAUDIO RODRÍGUEZ: Language Codes and Their Effects
    (pp. 40-58)

    As has often been noted, Claudio Rodríguez’s poetry illustrates attitudes and tendencies that came to the fore in Spain in the 1960s. Its seemingly everyday language and its allusions to common events link this poetry to earlier tendencies of post-Civil War verse. Yet a close look at individual texts makes clear that Rodríguez employs that language in a highly unusual and creative way, imparting significance to common words and expressions and making ordinary events suggest very fundamental meanings. His work avoids easy social and conceptual messages, and deals in complex fashion with such subjects as the conflict between negative and...

  7. 4 ANGEL GONZÁLEZ: Transformation and Perspective
    (pp. 59-80)

    Although Angel González is considered one of the most important Spanish poets of the late 1950s and the 1960s, his work has proved perhaps the most difficult to characterize. This is due in part to its range and variety: even though González published his first book relatively late (in 1956, at the age of thirty-one), he has written a number of volumes of poetry and dealt with a variety of subjects in very different tones. Because of that he has been characterized in different ways as critics have sought to highlight individual aspects of his work.

    The themes of González’s...

  8. 5 GLORIA FUERTES: Intertextuality and Reversal of Expectations
    (pp. 81-101)

    The poetry of Gloria Fuertes is marked by its colloquial tone and its resemblance to conversational address. Her works are filled with references to everyday objects and events: buses, storefronts, newspaper advertisements; any more significant themes emerge from these. Almost all her poems are written in free verse, a verse that seems to deliberately avoid rhythmic regularity and consistently break the conventions of the traditional lyric. These qualities are so patent as to suggest that the author is constructing a very special kind of poetic expression.

    Noting the presence of social concerns in much of Fuertes’s poetry, one is tempted...

  9. 6 JOSÉ ANGEL VALENTE: Reading and Rereading
    (pp. 102-122)

    Author of both poetic and critical works of major importance, José Angel Valente has articulated with precision the poetics and the attitude to art which underlie the works of his generation. In his essays Valente constantly stresses the goal of poetry in seizing and coming to know reality. Opposing the notion (so prevalent in the immediate post-Civil War period) that poets should communicate previously existent philosophic and social outlooks, Valente defends their role in discovering, through language, realities which would otherwise remain unexplored. This attitude is most evident in his frequently cited essay “Conocimiento y communicación”: “Todo poema es, pues,...

  10. 7 JAIME GIL DE BIEDMA: The Theme of Illusion
    (pp. 123-141)

    Jaime Gil de Biedma’s poems come across on first reading as clear and “realistic.” Many of them comprise detailed evocations of specific episodes, narrated by a first-person speaker who gives commentaries and conclusions. Quite often these commentaries offer philosophic insights; at times, especially in the later books, they contain social or political ideas. All of this has led some critics to characterize Gil de Biedma as a realistic poet proccupied with ethical and social issues.¹ The very clarity of his work has caused readers to miss its depth and originality.

    Several critics have begun to modify such interpretations. Pere Gimferrer...

  11. 8 CARLOS SAHAGÚN: Metaphoric Transformation
    (pp. 142-164)

    Carlos Sahagún’s poetry calls less attention to itself than that of most other Spanish writers of the 1960s. We do not find in it the novel use of colloquial expressions that characterizes Angel González and Gloria Fuertes, nor the surprising changes and reappraisals typical of José Angel Valente, nor the alternation of linguistic codes used by Claudio Rodríguez. The language of Sahagún’s verse seems ordinary but never blatantly colloquial; his works often consist of easy-to-understand evocations of past experiences, expressed in a low key.¹ They contain many visual images and make use of some metaphors, but these tend to be...

  12. 9 ELADIO CABAÑERO: Imagery, Style, and Effect
    (pp. 165-182)

    Eladio Cabañero’s background differes considerably from those of the other major poets of his generation. Born and raised in the small town of Tomelloso, Cabañero worked as a laborer in his youth and was largely self-educated when he arrived in Madrid in his late twenties. His early poetry is affected by this background in two different ways. On the one hand it contains many references to farm life and village people and scenes; on the other it is marked by the use of carefully controlled forms and patterns, suggesting the poet’s conscious efforts to learn from and assimilate previous traditions,...

    (pp. 183-199)

    The two poets I will study in this chapter are not often considered members of the group I have been studying in this book. Neither Angel Crespo nor Manuel Mantero is included in the anthologies of Ribes and Batlló, or discussed in José Olivio Jiménez’sDiez años de poesía española. Some of this may be explained by the fact that Mantero never associated with the other poets and has spent twelve years teaching in the United States, while Crespo published many of his books prior to 1960 and has been living in Puerto Rico for many years. Both of these...

  14. Afterword
    (pp. 200-202)

    A careful study of Spanish poetry of the Generation of 1956–1971 makes evident its innovativeness and importance. Although they base their works on the ordinary reality surrounding them and write in everyday language, the members of this generation create poems of great originality by skillful use of their materials. The combination of diverse language codes in the work of Rodríguez, the blending of colloquial expressions and intertextual effects by Fuertes, and the detailed descriptions and transformations of Cabañero illustrate their transcendence of the pedestrian realism of many earlier post-Civil War writers. The poets I have studied also reveal a...

  15. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 203-214)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 215-228)
  17. Index
    (pp. 229-233)