“and you. Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?”
(Federico Garcia) Lorca came to New York, hung around Columbia University quite a while, wrote big poems on the Brooklyn Bridge, as Mayakovsky did on Harlem, in 1930, probably ’32, two years after Mayakovsky’s suicide. Lorca was gay and killed by jealous cops or something, by Franco’s Guardia Civile, Civil Guard. He wrote while in New York a book of Surrealist poems, and he was turned on, perhaps, by Salvador Dali, whom he met. I met Dali once and I asked him if he knew Lorca’s “Ode to Walt Whitman” (“Oda a Walt Whitman“), and he said, “Have you read his “Oda a Salvador Dali?” So there was a Surrealist element mixed in and that comes out of (Guillaume) Apollinaire, and you can see some of the Apollinaire influence here, but you get that powerful personality and the voice here, as you have, somewhat more muted, in Apollinaire, but then (it) bursts out completely with the Russian poets, (as you can hear on the recordings, especially Esenin, where the voice boom(s) out from the chest and can be heard – I think in the room you could hear – even with that scratchy old record – the total resonance of a complete body put into the vocalization of the poem).