Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Last week was the seventy-fifth anniversary of the murder of the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca. He was killed along with three others - a one-legged schoolteacher and two anarchist bullfighters - in the early days of the Civil War, and their bodies dumped in an unmarked (and as yet unfound) grave just outside Visnar, a small town on the outskirts of Granada. He was shot mainly because he was seen as an uppity homosexual, and a champion of gypsy and working-class culture. A lot of the bourgeoisie didn't like his poetry either, which was probably another reason why he was shot. I don't think the city of Granada has really come to terms with his death; the poet has almost become deified in certain quarters, and this sits uneasily with the more straight-backed attitudes to be found away from the vicinity of the Alhambra. After all, how can you justify killing your most famous writer? The man who shot him, Juan Luis Trescastro, bragged about it afterwards: "We left him in a ditch," he said, "and I fired two shots into his arse for being a queer".

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