Notes on the Poets
Antonio Machado Ruiz was the leading poet of Spain's "Generation of 1898". "A Young Spain" was written c. 1914.
Francisco García Lorca was the greatest poet of a brilliant generation in Spain. He was killed by Fascist sympathizers at the age of 37, in the first summer of the Civil War.
Pablo Neruda was Chile's leading poet, arguably the most-read and most-influential poet in the mid-century world. His eulogy of Lorca was delivered at a writers' conference in Paris, 1937. The elegy to Hernández is from Canto General (1949); the other poems are from Espana en el Corazón (1937). Almería was a town shelled by the Germans.
Miguel Hernández was one of Spain's most promising young poets, a protege of Neruda. He died in prison in 1942, at 32; these poems date from 1937-8.
Emilio Prados went to Mexico after the war. "Dwelling in Death" is patterned after García Lorca's "Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejías." It's from Hora de España, a literary review published in Valencia during the war, for which most leading poets wrote.
Rafael Alberti was the other brightest light of Spain's "Second Golden Age." His war poems are not typical of his warm colorful songs and playful mythologies. He went to Argentina after the war.
León Felipe's poems are bitter fun; these date from 1938. He went to Mexico after the war. The "fellow from Manchego" is Don Quixote, a frequent figure in Felipe's poems.
Nicolás Guillén was Cuba's leading poet, of African and Spanish descent.
César Vallejo was Peruvian. He died in Paris in 1938, of hunger and Spain. The Civil War released him from an eight-year silence; in three incandescent months before his death he wrote 120 poems, and his influence in Latin America came to rival Neruda's. These poems are from his last book, España, Aparta De Mi Este Cáliz. If "best" poems exist from the Civil War, they are his, dense, difficult, luminous.
The ballads here are mostly from Romancero General de la Guerra Civila, a collection of 300 ballads from the early part of the war
Notes on the Program
Winds of the People was scripted in early 1961 by Richard Vernier with Michael Rossman, from Rossman's translations and other documents and literature of the period. The show was taped on June 11-14, with Vernier as producer and Fred Haines as technical producer, and was broadcast over KPFA on July 19 & 21 and November 11, 1961. Charles Levy was the Narrator; the other Voices were (1) Bernardo García, (2) Ed Schell, (3) M. Rossman, (4) Harold Pinsker, (5) Deborah Schell, (6) Michael Tigar, (7) R. Vernier, and (8) Fred Haines.
Copies of the original production, on tape cassette, could be had from the Pacifica Foundation Archive, 5316 Venice Blvd., L.A., CA 90019. An original tape is archived at Pacifica Radio Archives (http://pacificaradioarchives.org/) with this description:
Digital copies may be available by special order through PRA.
Notes on the Book
Winds of the People was composed camera-ready in a week, using Wordstar 2.26 with an Osborne I and a Brother HR-25 printer. Bless cottage power, already so advanced then! I published it in an edition of 500 copies, 120 pp, in perfectbound format, retailing for $8. A fair number were given away, but few were sold; I had no idea of how to handle promotion or distribution.
Of these translations, Hernández' "Winds of the People" and "The Train of the Wounded" were first published in Spider, I:6, 28 July 1965. César Vallejo's "Little Elegy ..." and "[He used to write ...]" appeared in Occident, Spring 1964. Both journals were vital to the cultural ferment of Berkeley then. The original radio script of "Winds of the People" was published in a mimeographed version available to listeners, besides being broadcast several times in July and November, 1961, by the listener-supported FM station KPFA in Berkeley, which has hosted and stimulated committed community creativity since 1948.
Winds of the People and The Heartened Voice are copyright 1986 by Michael Rossman. All rights to these translations and original supporting material are reserved. They may not be reproduced or performed without written permission from me; but inquiries are invited.
The image on this book's cover is from a poster titled MADRID -- THE "MILITARY" PRACTICE OF THE REBELS. It was placed here to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the modern custom of bombing civilians from the air, first practiced in this war -- though it might well have come from Libya only last week (1986), as the fruit of President Rambo Reagan's reckless raid, as all dead children look alike.