Poetry is a vast genre of literature that is used to express emotions, feelings and ideas
With reference to the poems of Antonio Machado, Juan Rami??n Jimi??nez, and Federico Garci??a Lorca studied in the course, discuss the uses of poetry and the ways in which the three writers exploit this medium Poetry is a vast genre of literature that is used to express emotions, feelings and ideas. Every writer has different reasons for expressing their ideas through this medium. Antonio Machado, Juan Rami??n Jimi??nez and Federico Garci??a Lorca were all Spanish poets who lived around the same era.
Does this mean their uses of poetry were the same?
Did they write poems for the same reasons? In order to discuss how they have used poetry it is necessary to understand their poems in more detail. At first glance it seems that Antonio Machado explores nature and the beauty of it in his poetry. In his poem Crepi??sculo Machado describes a nature scene. Although he doesn’t use the first person, it is clear from the content that the poem is implicitly about him. He has therefore, used nature to mirror himself. The cold images of stone and marble in the poem, like the statue of Cupid, communicate a lack of expression on the poet’s part.
With Cupid having connotations of love and with the statue being constructed from stone it is possible to say that Machado finds it difficult to express love. Antonio Machado, in this respect, has exploited the medium, with nature as a main theme, to reflect himself to the reader. In displaying his lack of love through poetry, he is able to get across exactly what he wants to say by emphasising aspects with repetition, rhyme and other stylistic features. Writing his feelings in prose, for Machado, would not have had the same effect. Another example of Machado using nature to describe himself is in his poem A Un Olmo Seco.
He fears that his life is near to its end like that of the tree and he only has hope left. Here, Machado is using poetry to express anxiety and concern about the ending of his life. The descriptions which he writes about the tree are descriptions of how he sees himself in relation to life in general. In this way, he is using poetry to put across his worries and to tell people about how he sees himself in comparison to nature. Machado’s poem El Limonero, however, is not, on the surface, a description about nature but a search for something.
The poet tries to recall an innocent childhood illusion in which he attempted to pick up some fruit out of some water and then discovered that it was merely a reflection. Machado communicates the difficulty in finding the illusion he remembers from childhood, with a contrast between heart and mind -he knows he won’t find it again but he still has hopes. This can be related to A Un Olmo Seco when he hopes for another ‘milagro de primavera’1 (miracle of spring). Poetry has been employed by Antonio Machado to illustrate his despondency on aging and on realising that things aren’t what they used to be.
El Limonero describes how the happiness and simplicity of being a child can never be regained. Poetry is a good way of expressing deep feelings and emotions because it can be adapted in ways that prose cannot. The letter form and use of the informal second person of the poem A Josi?? Mario Palacio tells the reader that this is a poem written to a friend. Machado is asking his friend whether spring has arrived and mentions typical spring-time occurrences. He introduces a third party with the use of “su” and it is later revealed that the poet is talking about the death of his wife.
After reading A Josi?? Mario Palacio it could be said that the hopelessness he feels in A Un Olmo Seco is because of the death of his wife and the anxieties about his own life. Machado has used poetry to project grief out of himself onto nature without showing self pity. In writing this, he may have been able to come to terms with his emotions. For Machado, poetry is used to say things that he feels cannot be expressed in another way. Poetry and can be used when prose and normal word patterns are unable to put across the idea or feeling in the desired way.
Unlike Machado, however, Jimi??nez uses poetry to illustrate his outlook on the mysteries of life. His poem El Nombre is directed to the intelligence and the brain. Jimi??nez feels the necessity to write something and asks his intelligence for the name of things. Poetry is being used by Jimi??nez to communicate the difficulties in language and expression. He describes the complexity in communicating a feeling to a reader. Like the poems of Machado, Jimi??nez has used poetry to overcome the difficulties of conveying an idea. i??rboles Hombres, nevertheless, is written in the form of a traditional ballad.
The subject of this poem is the impermanence of human life. It is a story about a man who goes into a wood and hears the trees talking. They talk about him and think he’s a tree too. Jimi??nez is describing the brevity of human life in comparison to the seemed permanence of nature; he is saying how human life is temporary. The trees existed before, and will exist after his life. Jimi??nez has, in this sense, used poetry to communicate his views about human existence in comparison to nature, which has existed since the beginning of time. Jimi??nez can be described as a mystic poet despite him being agnostic.
In some ways he uses language poetically to develop the idea of a mystic God. This can be seen in the poem Soy Animal de Fondo. Jimi??nez explores the connection between material and immaterial. For example, feelings of warmth from the sun are not material even though the sun itself is. The poem, like El Nombre, recalls a search but this time it is for God. There is a progression throughout the poem to the realisation that God was there all along. Poetry, here, is used to explain that life is beyond material even though people only realise it when they are taken away from the material world.
Jimi??nez has made use of poetry to recall the search about the unknown consciousness that the material world hides. The poetry of Jimi??nez is about subjects related to his life and it has been said that ‘vida y poesi??a son una y la misma cosa’2 (life and poetry are one and the same thing) for Jimi??nez. This indicates that he uses poetry, like Machado, to reflect himself and his personality. In the case of Federico Garci??a Lorca, poetry is often applied to express feelings of marginalisation within society. Being homosexual Lorca was subject to persecution for not conforming to the expectations of the society in which he lived.
In his ballads Lorca uses gypsies to express the exclusion he felt during his life. Gypsies were, like Lorca, considered to be outsiders and they too were not respected. In his ballad Romance de la Luna, Luna Lorca explores a scene about a gypsy boy who is ill and feels persecuted by the moon. He explains the interpretation of the death of a child from an uncivilised and unscientific mind. The gypsies can accept that the moon was the cause of death, because to their minds it is plausible. Civilised society cannot accept this idea and so gypsies, like Lorca were labelled as outsiders.
With poetry Lorca can express the ostracism he felt without making a direct statement. Poetry works better than prose in this respect because Lorca can make use of imagery and symbolism to convey his idea. Another gypsy ballad written by Lorca is Preciosa y el Aire. The wind tries to abduct a gypsy girl, who is playing a tambourine. The wind represents the sexual impulse of nature and Preciosa sees it as a threat. Her primitive impulse tells her she is in danger but when she goes into the civilised world, i. e. the English consul’s house, her experience is oppressed.
Poetry has been used here to show the sense of exclusion that Lorca feels exists in society for those who step out of the norm. He is telling his readers about the feelings of persecution that existed in his life through the form of another equally mistreated figure in society. Romance Soni??mbulo is again from Lorca’s book Romancero Gitano (Gypsy Ballads) and is about an injured man seeking refuge at a gypsy dwelling. A gypsy girl has been waiting for him for so long that she’s given up and killed herself. Lorca has used surrealism within his poetry by placing words in a non realist order.
This form is used to describe the difference between the civilised, realist life and the somewhat surreal, gypsy life. There is also a reoccurrence of the colour green. Green has positive and, especially in Spain, negative connotations. For example green can signify nature and life but also rotten fruit. In Spain it can also indicate sexual perversion, in the case of ‘un hombre verde’ meaning ‘a dirty old man’. The repetition of green could be said to be telling the reader about Lorca’s ‘own libidinal tendency towards the forbidden fruit’3; this meaning his homosexuality.
From all 3 poems it can be said that: Sexuality (… is the subjective nub (… ) where the violent context of ostracism and persecution (… ) may be seen as a projection of the poet’s inner anxiety. 4 Lorca has used language and poetry in his work, not only to express marginalisation, but also to show how his sexuality is perceived by society. From his judgment homosexuality is perceived as verde. All three poets and their work can be related and linked to each other. They all use poetry for personal reasons and convey their individual ideas through it. They use many devices within their poems to help put across meaning, for example, with the use of nature and gypsies.
For writers, poetry is a tool to be exploited because there are no rules. Poets can make up the rules of what they write and in this can add to the affect that the poems have on a reader. Machado, Jimi??nez and Lorca have exploited poetry to their own means and used it for individual reasons. They have all used nature, in some way, to help their poetry have the desired effect or meaning. Lorca uses a more traditional form of poetry, the ballad, as it would have been very familiar to readers and so would be able to convey the exact idea that he wanted.
The main and most common use of poetry between all three poets is the need to express a feeling, whether it is anxiety, absence or an opinion. In writing their poems, the poets have reflected themselves and revealed their outlooks on life. They have used this medium as a language tool to convey exactly their feelings, opinions and beliefs; the sort of ideas where prose will not suffice. Poetry is used by writers like Machado, Jimi??nez and Lorca because it can get across a meaning and can appeal to emotions in ways that other literature forms cannot.
Imagery and symbolism are a big part of poetry and help writers put across detailed ideas. It is difficult to get across a subtle and implicit meaning with the use of prose and this is a reason why some of the poets have used this medium. Furthermore, poetry is an art that can communicate the beauty of ideas, scenes and thoughts and it has the power to describe a subject or tell a story effectively. For Machado, Jimi??nez and Lorca poetry is simply a way of escaping the normality and mundane routine of everyday life as they express their ideas through this medium.