Opinion | Jaime Gil de Biedma: the poet of memory and desire

In hispanic literature there are great poets with a work wide: Lope, Juan Ramón, Alberti; there are also exceptional poets with a production brief: Manrique, Ga

Opinion | Jaime Gil de Biedma: the poet of memory and desire

In hispanic literature there are great poets with a work wide: Lope, Juan Ramón, Alberti; there are also exceptional poets with a production brief: Manrique, Garcilaso, Bécquer. Jaime Gil de Biedma (1929-1990) belongs to the latter. He published some ninety compositions, spread over three collections: travel Companions (1959), Moralities (1966) and Poems posthumously (1968). Although written some of the verses most beautiful lyrical contemporary Spanish, Gil de Biedma liked him, more than to write poetry, speak it and read it. In the early mornings in barcelona in the 50's, 60's, 70's, Jaime, with a drink in hand, dressed in a smart suit and tie is exquisite, I could talk with his friends (Carlos Barral, Gabriel Ferrater, Jaime Salinas, Ana María Moix, Juan Marsé) of literature for hours.

Jaime fascinated to read poems. For him, the essential fact of the communication of the literary was reading. From a very young age, I used to read his poems to the Rod and Rod did the same with Jaime. He began writing sonnets. The majority rejected them as being of low quality. On December 9, 1988, in the Student Residence of Madrid, offered the last public reading of his poetry. By that time, James, a writer as a veteran, took more than three years sick, and nearly two decades without writing poetry on an ongoing basis. Only, he had composed small poems on time, although with the mastery that characterized him, as De senectute, in 1979. That day of the end of 1988, in the historical building of democratic, republican and secular, born in the heat of the Free Institution of Education, Jaime spoke about the friendship in Oxford in 1953 with the one that was the Residency director, Alberto Jiménez Fraud, and his wife, Natalia Cossío, exiles in England.

In 1953, Jaime was a twenty-year-old Law graduate, who spent a semester at the iconic british university, and that he was amazed by English writers such as Auden and T. S. Eliot, whose lyrical will influence decisively. That same fascination with T. S. Eliot and Auden had sense ten years ago a poet who would be the main point of reference of Gil de Biedma's poetry, Spanish: Luis Cernuda. No poet has read as well to Cernuda as Jaime Gil de Biedma (which, also, was able to read superbly to Guillen or Espronceda). Both creators, despite the fact that they were separated twenty-seven years of age, had several points in common: a veneration for the lyrical English, added to his homosexuality, his political thinking of the left (and within this, the continuing opposition to the franco dictatorship), the fact of having been raised in a bourgeois family and that then would have criticized the bourgeoisie, and the condition of poets with a work of elegiac added a work of sublime literary criticism.

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In his last years of life, Cernuda, who died in Mexico in November 1963, exchange letters with Gil de Biedma. This he had dedicated a wonderful poem, Nights of the month of June, Fellow travelers (1959). A poem of memory and desire, the thematic axes of the poetry cernudiana, so akin to the verses of T. S. Eliot: “mixing / Memory and desire”, The Waste Land (1922). In the fall of 1962, Gil de Biedma collaborates with the magazine valenciana cane gray in a formidable tribute to Cernuda. Your contribution will consist of in the essay The example of Luis Cernuda, which claimed the role of master of Cernuda to the group of poets of the 50's, which included, beside the own Jaime, José Agustín Goytisolo, Carlos Barral, Claudio Rodríguez, Francisco Brines', José Ángel Valente, Caballero Bonald and Angel Gonzalez.

When she dies, Cernuda, Gil de Biedma writes a composition laudatory, After the news of his death, which appears in Morals (1966). In December of 1976, in full democratic Transition, pronounced a conference on Cernuda at the University of Seville, trial basis, As in himself, in the end, one of the texts that James was most proud, and it may be that the creation ensayística more beautiful in the second half of the TWENTIETH century. Jaime Gil de Biedma was a craftsman of the Spanish language, such as Azorín, Gabriel Miró, as Antonio Machado, who he admired deeply. I used to write in the evenings, because by the morning I was working in the Company of Tobacco of the Philippines, an important company of which he became secretary general. The process of making poetry of Gil de Biedma are distinguishable by their slowness and their eagerness perfectionist. In the early 60s, the period of highest literary creativity of his career, Jaime feels that he can say everything in a poem. Between 1963 and 1964, writes what I consider the poem a nuclear of his lyric, Pandemic and Celeste. Composition of near one hundred verses, very beautiful; another great poem of desire and memory, and that, as pointed out by Carme Riera, “is a poem of a whole generation”. Something similar can be said of it is enough for Me as well, Angel Gonzalez; Words for Julia José Agustín Goytisolo; or Mere Road, of Francisco Braun.

Among his poems, Jaime, who, like Cernuda was a teacher in the long poem, he preferred one brief: I will Not be young. Written in the spring of 1967, in full existential crisis by the consciousness of the definitive abandonment of the youth, Gil de Biedma us delivery in twelve verses a masterpiece of dyes calderonianos. From 1970 on, just write poetry. It is dedicated to his role of literary critic (will collect their essays in at The foot of the letter, in 1980), to give lectures, to read poetry and to talk about poets and poems. Gil de Biedma, inteligentísimo, assured that what is essential to the reading for the first time a poem is not to understand it, but feel it, the verses affect us, even if we do not understand. If indeed the poem excites us, sooner or later, we will understand it by asking ourselves why we moved on the read original. The reflection is so enlightening that may be applicable to other cultural creations: a movie, a novel, a song, a painting.

Cheerful, lively, refined, this poet took to the hispanic music to one of its highest peaks. Cultivated deeply the call to poetry social, with memorable works such as the Apology and the Request, and sad Night of October, 1959, but was above all a poet of love (Jaime commented that he wrote poems about the experience of loving, not about love), the highest of our language, at the level of Garcilaso, Bécquer, or Salinas. He died thirty years ago, on January 8, 1990. Jaime Gil de Biedma has accomplished what only great artists manage to stay in the time. To read it in 2020, we feel in his poems to a human being who loved life and who conveyed in his compositions, so beautiful, so deep, so true, the root of that enthusiasm for life.

Javier Herreros Martinez is professor of Spanish Language and Literature at IES Vega del Jarama, San Fernando de Henares, Madrid.

Updated Date: 08 January 2020, 09:00

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