Learn Spanish Through Poetry of Pablo Neruda and Garcia Lorca

A great way to learn Spanish is through poetry. Hearing the rythym, the cadence, the pauses in between words, the mystery and romance of the Spanish language comes alive. If you don’t know Spanish or your just learning the language, read the English version first and then Spanish. Either way, it will be a good way to understand the nuances and subtleties of the Spanish language. Subsequently, you will have enrichened your knowledge not just of Spanish, but of poetry.

Here are some of my favorite Spanish and Latin American poets that I think you will enjoy.

Neruda– Me Gusta Cuando Callas
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Neruda- Puedo Escribir los Versos Mas Triste
Garcia Lorca’s Poem: Verde Que Te Quiero Verde

Ernesto Cardenal

Machado Recita la Poesia de Ruben Dario


I will be having more blogs on Spanish and Latin American Poets in the future.

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Let’s not forget our AMAZING LITERARY HERITAGE. Let us not forget How many Poets have won or been nominated for the Nobel Prize. Lorca didn’t win but if he was around long enough ( he died at 42 years old) I am sure he would have. Here’s some poems from this genius Spanish poet during his sojourn in New York City.

Read in English with Spanish subtitles.

You may also read more about Lorca & his theory of Duende in my blog, http://www.laescuelaespanol.com

Garcia Lorca- Click on Video of 5 Poems from Poet in New York

Nicaragua: Land of Poets and Volcanoes


Volcan Mombacho-

Words should paint the color of sound, the aroma of a star.”

Rubén Darío

The very famous and controversial writer Salman Rushdie,  wrote his first memoir,  The Jaguar’s Smile, about his time in 1986 when he travels all over the country and talks to everyone from the campesino to the politician. He quotes the great poet from Granada, José Coronel Urtecho,who once said that “Every Nicaraguan is a poet until proven otherwise”.

All Nicaraguans whether they are the campesino, coffee plantation owner, policeman, lawyer and politician know how to write and recite poetry. Poetry is a national past time, and it’s very often that you hear people address each other as in ” Hey poet !”

The love of poetry in Nicaragua can be traced back to (1867-1916) there were poets like Salmon de la Selva, who was the first Latin American poet to be nominated for the Nobel Prize. But it was Ruben Dario, otherwise known as the Father of Modernism, who solidified it as the country’s dominant art form.

Most Nicaraguans have a passion for poetry and young children, beginning in first grade learn to express themselves in poetry and team up with other classmates to recite Ruben Dario’s poetry.

 Two great poets, Garcia Lorca ( Spain) and Pablo Neruda ( Chile) pay tribute to Ruben Dario in this effervescent and witty dialogue.

His red name deserves to be remembered, along with his essential tendencies, his terrible heartaches, his incandescent uncertainties, his descent to the hospitals of hell, his ascent to the castles of fame, his attributes as a great poet, now and forever undeniable.

As a Spanish poet he taught the old and the young in Spain with a generosity and a sense of universality that are lacking in the poets of today. He taught Valle-Inclán and Juan Ramón Jiménez and the Machado brothers, and his voice was water and niter in the furrows of our venerable language. From Rodrigo Caro to the Argensolas or Don Juan Arguijo, Spanish had not seen such plays on words, such clashes of consonants, such lights and forms, as in Rubén Darío. From the landscapes of Velázquez and Goya’s bonfire and Quevedo’s melancholy to the elegant apple color of the Mallorcan peasant girls, Darío walked the Spanish earth as in his own land.

After Neruda there have been many successful and noteworthy poets.

For such a small country, Nicaragua produces more poets and writers, than any other profession.

Gioconda Belli, designated amongst the 100 most important poets during the 20th century.

Claribel Alegría (1924), poet, she received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 2006.

Héctor Avellán (1973), poet

Eugenio Batres Garcia (1941) noted newscaster and journalist, writer, author and poet.

Gioconda Belli (1948), poet

Beltrán Morales (1945-1986) poet, essayist, critic and narrator.

Erick Blandón Guevara (1951), poet

Yolanda Blanco (1954), poet and translator.

Tomás Borge (1930), writer, poet, and essayist.

Carola Brantome (1961), poet and journalist.

Omar Cabezas (1950), writer

Blanca Castellón (1961), poet

Ernesto Cardenal (1925), poet

Blanca Castellón (1958), poet

Lizandro Chávez Alfaro (1929), poet, essayist and narrator.

Juan Chow (1956), poet

José Coronel Urtecho (1906-1994), poet, translator, essayist, critic, narrator, playwright, and historian.

Alfonso Cortés (1893-1969), poet

Pablo Antonio Cuadra (1912-2002), poet

Rubén Darío (1867-1916), poet, referred to as The Father of Modernism.

Gloria Gabuardi (1945), poet and writer.

Mercedes Gordillo (1938), poet, writer and critic.

Salomón Ibarra Mayorga (1887-1985), poet and lyricist of “Salve a ti, Nicaragua”, the Nicaraguan national anthem.

Erwin Krüger (1915-1973), poet and composer.

Marta Leonor González (1973), poet, narrator and journalist.

Danilo López (1954), poet

Tino López Guerra (1906-2001), poet

Rigoberto López Pérez (1929-1936), poet and writer.

María Lourdes Pallais (1954), narrator and journalist.

Carlos Martínez Rivas (1924-1998), poet

Francisco Mayorga (1949), writer

Ernesto Mejía Sánchez (1923-1985), poet

Christianne Meneses Jacobs (1971), writer, editor, and publisher.

Vidaluz Meneses (1944) poet

Tania Montenegro (1969), poet and journalist.

Rosario Murillo (1951), poet

Michèle Najlis (1948), poet

Daniel Ortega (1945), poet

Azarias H. Pallais (1884–1954), poet

Raphael Pallais (1952), writer

Joaquin Pasos (1914-1947), poet

Horacio Peña (1946), writer and poet.

Rodrigo Peñalba Franco (1981), narrator and author.

Sergio Ramírez (1942), writer

Guillermo Rothschuh Tablada (1926), poet

María Teresa Sánchez (1918-1994), poet

Mariana Sansón Argüello (1918), poet

Eunice Shade (1980), writer

Arlen Siu (?-1972), essayist

Juan Sobalvarro (1966), poet

Milagros Terán (1963), writer, poet, and essayist.

Julio Valle Castillo (1952), poet, novelist, essayist, literary critic and art critic

Daisy Zamora (1950), poet

Flavio Cesar Tijerino(1926-2006) Writer and poet.

Ernesto Cardenal

Reverend Father Ernesto Cardenal Martínez (born January 20, 1925) is a Nicaraguan Catholic priest and was one of the most famous liberation theologians of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, a party he has since left. From 1979 to 1987 he served as Nicaragua’s first culture minister. He is also famous as a poet. Cardenal was also the founder of the primitivist art community in the Solentiname Islands, where he lived for more than ten years (1965-1977). He was nominated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in May 2005.


History of Flamenco

Part 1: History of Flamenco

Origins of Flamenco:

Flamenco is part of the culture of Spain, but it’s origins is only select to one region, Andalusia. The cities in Andalucia are Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba,Jerez, and Malaga,and reflect the great Moorish influence,since historically Moors ruled from the 7th to 11th century. What makes flamenco interesting is the influence of other dance forms that have helped to create it. The earliest settlers in Andalusiacame not only from the Middle East,North Africa and Persia,but from the Punjab region of India,Rajasthan. We call them the gypsies. Flamenco is an amalgamation of all cultures. It has drawn its inspiration from Greek, Roman, Indian, Moorish and Jewish cultures.

Flamenco was born from the frustration and heart aches of the oppressed people in Spain: the Jews, gypsies,and Moors. Since the time of the Spanish Iniquisition, the Jews,  Moors and Gypsies were treated as outsiders, often persecuted disdained and hated by the Spanish people.  Flamenco was born from this, as a spiritual outlet very much like gospel was born from the opression of the American slaves.Often whole families would gather impromptu in their neighborhoods to sing,dance and entertain for their community.It was not until later that flamenco became an accepted artform. It took a long time for flamenco to become accepted as an artform in Spain. It was not until non-gypsies performed in cafes and theaters that it became popular. It has been since,commercialized and now has many schools that train to dancers to be full fledged flamenco dancers, combining their training with ballet.

Flamenco and Gypsies:

Until the late eighteenth and nineteenth century, Flamenco dance, music and song was widely considered to belong to the Gypsies, whose customs, beliefs and way of life were disdained and even hated by Spanish society. During and for centuries after the famous expulsion of the Moors and Jews in 1492, the Gypsies were tortured, persecuted and even killed if they would not conform to the accepted standard of Spanish society. Nomadic by nature, many of the Gypsies never settled in one town for very long; they would stay in one location only as long as they were able to make money doing odd jobs, selling their wares, and many of them performing Flamenco for the curious Spaniards.

Expulsion of the Gypsies in Spain

Flamenco, a tri-art:

The traditional view is that flamenco was originally unaccompanied singing (cante). Later, the songs were accompanied by flamenco guitar (toque), rhythmic hand clapping (palmas), rhythmic feet stomping (zapateado) and dance (baile). Other scholars maintain that while some cante forms are unaccompanied (a palo seco), it is likely other forms were accompanied if and when instruments (a palo seco), it is likely other forms were accompanied if and when instruments were available. 19th century writer Estébanez Calderón described a flamenco fiesta in which the singing was accompanied not only by guitars, but also bandurria and tambourine.

Flamenco Dance Categories:

Flamenco dance has many as 50 different dimensions, each projecting the different moods of a person. The mood reflects the nature of the dance and sets the melodic parameters and the cultural backdrop for it. The three main categories of Flamenco music and dance are: Jondo or the grande, which depicts the lament and the grief of the people. It centers on themes of death, anguish, despair or religious sentiment. Intermedio (intermediate), which is of a lesser intensity, but is reflective in nature. It is often accompanied with an oriental cast to the music. Chico (small or light), which depict the feelings of love, ribald humor and happiness.

Flamenco Today:

Today flamenco is being performed by gypsies as well as non-gypsies, far away from its birthplace, and achieved acclaims globally. There is a man that has a flamenco dance troup.In modern  Spain, flamenco is fully a part of Spanish culture and echoes of Spanish flamenco have colored main stream pop. Many Spanish pop singers have that ache and heartbreak in their voice reminiscent of Spanish Flamenco singers. It is evident in the singing style of many pop singers, like Estopa, Rosario, Azucar Moreno, and Chambao to name a few.Flamenco is quiet evident and weddings and parties and social events. An American man forms a Flamenco dance troupe.

Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca  said of Flamenco.
“Flamenco is deeper than all the wells and all the seas that surround the world, deeper than the hearts that create it, or the voices that sing it, almost infinite. It crosses the graveyard of time and the fronds of parched winds. It comes from the first sob and the first kiss.”

A trip to Spain, would not be complete without going to a restaurant or café and experiencing the drama and passion of an authentic Flamenco performance.