Frederico García lived in Manhattan from 1929 to 1930, and the poetry he wrote about the city, Poet in New York, was posthumously published in 1940. Eighty years after Lorca’s sojourn to America, Nathalie Handal, a poet from New York, went to Spain to write Poet in Andalucía. Handal recreated Lorca’s journey in reverse.
Nathalie Handal's brilliant new volume of poetry, Poet in Andalucia—about Spain, about the Middle East, about shared destinies and hopes—touches me deeply: it reminds us of what's inconsolable, of what's multiple, of what's irreducible, and what's simultaneous.
If writing draws us closer to the Other, a voice so lucid as that of Nathalie Handal becomes a necessity. A perspective such as hers allows for interpreting what transforms, remains, and unites. Poet in Andalucia will be one of the most talked about poetry books of 2012 and beyond.
"Love and Strange Horses . . . trembles with belonging (and longing)."
Handal's newest collection is an ambitious work that looks back at Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca's 1940 classic, Poet in New York. Handal says she recreates 'Lorca's journey in reverse,' by narrating her journey through Spain. Accompanied by comprehensive clarifying notes and a travelogue, Handal's collection resonates with a scholarly understanding of Spain's religious and linguistic influences.
Her work is a brilliant elegance.
An intriguing voice.
The cadence of Nathalie Handal's voice resembles her nomadic life.
This cosmopolitan voice belongs to the human family, and it luxuriates in crossing necessary borders.
These poems make a beautiful reality for the poet, and for us, which is truer than mortar and brick. It's with startling force that Handal builds an architecture for the wanderer, and so makes true the belief that the life of the mind may be a waking dream but it's the place we finally live. In her displacement, Handal's inward tone is of grieving, but the consequence of writing about it, and writing with such fervor, is that cities are created where we can visit.
Nathalie Handal is the author of Poet in Andalucia, Love and Strange Horses, a Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award winner, and is coeditor of Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond. She is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, recipient of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature, the Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, and an Honored Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award, among other honors. She teaches at Columbia University and is the editor of “The City and the Writer” for Words without Borders magazine.learn more