'This Lyrical Box of Chocolates': Lorca and Haiku
This is a video of a talk by Christopher Maurer (Boston University, Romance Studies) for the "Haiku as World Literature: A Celebration of the 150th Birthday of Haiku Poet Masaoka Shiki", which took place on October 12 & 13, 2017 at Barristers Hall, Boston University. Recorded on October 12, 2017 by the Geddes Language Center.
In summer 1920 the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca wrote of a longing for "new songs," without "lyrical flesh," poems more succinct and moving than any he had ever written. Over the next few years, at least three art forms, paragons of brevity, helped him toward that goal: the lyrics of Andalusian cante jondo, the greguerías (lyrical epigrams) of Ramón Gómez de la Serna, and haiku, recently introduced into Spanish-language poetry by the Mexican José Juan Tablada. Sensing a new moment in Spanish poetry, Lorca wrote in 1922 of his–and his fellow poets'–responsibility to "prune the overluxuriant lyrical tree left to us by Romantics and Post-Romantics." Quoting from a birthday gift from the poet to his mother–a series of whimsical, affectionate poems he called a "box of lyrical chocolates"–this talk describes the discovery of haiku by Lorca and his friends in the early 20s, its perceived similarity to cante jondo (deep song), and its transformative effect on his early poetry.