Marshall Mateer

Lorca Visits Coney Island

In 1929/30 the great Spanish poet Fedrico Garcia Lorca was a student in New York – a mind-changing visit he recorded in ‘Poet in New York’. He was stunned by the modern, urban whirpool of the metropolis and its myriad peoples, the solitude he felt and the violence surrounding him. He saw this in heightened form when he visited Coney Island. “The amusement park is truly a child’s dream. There are incredible roller coasters, tunnels of love … the world’s fattest woman, a four-eyed man, … but it is simply too much …”

Lorca aged 16 - in 1914.

In his poetry the overwhelming dream-world of ‘Dusk at Coney Island’ became, ‘Landscape of a Vomiting Multitude’ (‘Paisaje de la multitud que vomita’).

“I, a poet without arms, lost
in the vomiting multitude,
with no effusive horse to shear
the thick moss from my temples.”

 Original Spanish publication 1940, ‘Poet in New York’, translation Simon and White with introduction by Maurer; Penguin. 1990.

Image: Federico García Lorca in 1914, aged 16, when a school student in Granada. Photo. Public Domain. See Wikipedia.

Article: This article written February 2010.