Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Antonio Machado in Baeza, Spain

Baeza will be forever related with the name of the poet Antonio Machado, who lived there for seven years between 1912 and 1919. The town’s international summer school is named after him and the locals are justly proud that Baeza should figure in some of his most famous poems, as in the following example:

“De la ciudad moruna
Tras las murallas viejas
Yo contemplo la tarde silenciosa
A solas con mi sombra y con mi pena.
El río va corriendo
Entre sombrías huertas
Y grises olivares,
Por los alegres campos de Baeza.”

In reality, his relationship with the town was somewhat tortuous, as is hinted at in this poem. Having moved to Baeza after the death of his wife, he associated its small-town atmosphere and agricultural surroundings with his grief. However, it can also be argued that these very surroundings spurred his creativity on, his literary output in this period being excellent.

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