New York, April 6 (IANS/EFE) Full of crossings-out, marginal notes and erasures, the original manuscript of “Poet in New York” went on display for the first time Friday at the Public Library of the city that inspired Federico Garcia Lorca to write it, after a long journey and many years when it was thought to be lost.
“It makes sense because the book started out here, it had that long, complicated history…and I’m glad it’s being shown for the first time to the people of New York,” the poet’s niece, Laura Garcia Lorca, president of the foundation that seeks to preserve and promote the poet’s work, told EFE.
In July 1936, after several years of mulling over the title, content and structure of the book of poems, Lorca decided to take the original to the Madrid publishing house of his friend Jose Bergamin, but, since he wasn’t in his office, he left the manuscript on his desk with a note saying “Back tomorrow”.
“Just a little piece of paper but it marked a personal tragedy and a general tragedy for Spain, because instead of returning the next day, the poet went back to Granada, the coup d’etat (led by Francisco Franco) exploded and they killed him,” one of the curators of the exhibition, Andres Soria Olmedo, told EFE.
The story explained the name of the exhibition, “Back Tomorrow”, now referring to the return of the manuscript to the city where it was created more than 80 years ago during Lorca’s 1929-30 studies at Columbia University.
Getting it back was not easy. Bergamin took the manuscript with him into exile in Mexico after Franco’s side won the civil war, and it was not heard of again until it reappeared in 1999 in the hands of Manola Saavedra, a Mexican actress who received the document from a rich widow, a friend of the publisher.
In 2003, the Federico Garcia Lorca Foundation acquired the document at auction.