Luis Muñoz: Inspiration and Influences

On writing, Inconlusos (‘Unfinished’)

Luis Muñoz describes his approach to writing the play.

“I read Lorca’s complete plays and poems again last summer. I’ve done this many times in my life, beginning when I was a teenager in Granada. At the University of Iowa, where I’m a professor, I teach a course about Lorca some semesters, so I read his work every time I teach this course. I love how the students try to discover new meanings in it, and how they receive the effect of his writing. But this summer I thought more about certain parts of his writing that are not so well known, because they are just notes, ideas, fragments, drafts. The openness of them is so rich and inspiring, like the beginning of a good conversation.”

 

What was it that inspired him about the poet?

“The potentiality of the unfinished work left by Lorca, and the tragedy of his execution viewed as the tragedy of an unfinished life. The unfinished has the energy of the possible, the gesture of a movement that wanted to continue. And the unfinished is literally the thing without an end, and in this sense, the unfinished is incredibly alive. On the other hand, the reasons why the work was not completed offer their own potency.”

 

How was he inspired by the poet’s house?

“Last summer I was living at the Residencia de Estudiantes in order to work on another project, and Alicia Gómez Navarro, the Residencia’s director, and Laura García Lorca, the director of the García Lorca Foundation, asked me about writing the mini-play. Well, I was living there, and the presence of Lorca is very strong in these spaces. I tried to giving a concrete form to the connection between Lorca and the buildings, the old rooms, the garden, the restaurant, the distance—in the 1920s—to Madrid’s downtown. Lorca was a brilliant explorer of the inner voices of spaces. One of the poems in the mini-play, for instance, is about his room, about his relationship with his room, the familiarity and the strangeness. Many of his writings are about the surprise and the tragedy of spaces contemplated as if with an ultrasensitive magnifying glass.”

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Luis Muñoz

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Luis Muñoz was born in Granada, Spain, in 1966. He has a degree in Spanish Philology and also in Romantic Philology. In a career spanning two decades, he has established himself as “one of the most brilliant poets of his generation,” (El Pais) who has been hailed for the clarity, originality and imagistic richness of his poems. His work, which includes: six published poetry collections: Septiembre (1991), Manzanas amarillas (1995), El apetito (1998), Correspondencias (2001),  Querido silencio (2006) and Limpiar pescado. Poesia reunida (2016), has received numerous awards including the Generation 27 award for Correspondencias, and the Ojo Critico award.  Muñoz has been an advisor to the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid for ten years and is currently a professor, teaching on the MFA in Spanish Creative Writing Programme in Spanish at the University of Iowa. He divides his time between Iowa and Madrid.


 

Federico Garcia Lorca

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Federico Garcia Lorca

Federico Garcia Lorca was born on 5th June 1898, and died on 19 August 1936, shot by Franco’s soldiers, in the midst of the Spanish Civil War. He was not only a poet, but also an acclaimed theatre director and playwright who achieved international recognition for being a member of Generation’ 27. This was a loose group, mostly poets, who introduced the ideas of European movements, such as Surrealsm, Futurism and Symbolism, into Spanish literature.

Garcia Lorca had a middle class upbringing, growing up in a small town outside Granada in a comfortable mansion. He took up Law at university, but soon gave it up after publishing his first book Impresiones y Viajes, in 1919. From there, he moved to Madrid, where he wrote plays, made performances, and wrote poetry. His interest in flamenco and gypsy culture translated into his poems, and during this period he met Salavador Dali, who introduced him to Surrealism.

Lorca’s poetry collection Romancero Gitano (the Gypsy Ballads), 1928 was particularly daring, dealing with themes of sexuality, and brought Lorca far-reaching fame.