Where is ‘Yerma’? | Entertainment | The USA Print


“They looked for me and they did not find me”, prophesies Federico García Lorca in 1929 in a verse of Poet in New York. It is true: we did not find his bones, we did not find his recorded voice, we did not find the manuscript of barren, tragic poem in three acts and six scenes, immortal theatrical work of universal fame. This original manuscript by Lorca should be in Cuba: its author sent it to the island, to a Havana friend to whom he had promised it. Wanting to see it I have flown to Havana. And I have not found it. Where is barren?

The history of the manuscript barren begins in the yellow papers of the La Unión hotel, in Old Havana, in 1930. It is a story of love and commitment: Lorca’s love for the beauties of Cuba and commitment to a friend, Flor Loynaz (Havana, 1908-1985). . Lorca takes a yellow paper stamped from the hotel and heads it with a single word: barren. And he scallops it between two dashes.

Lorca was portrayed like this in the Rembrandt studios in Havana, in 1930

Photo colored by Navarrete

Lorca writes by hand. His electric penmanship. Cross out lines. He scores the margins. He collects loose sheets of disparate sizes. He puts papers in and out of the pockets of his white denim suit, purchased the day after disembarking in Havana, on March 7, 1930. And 98 days follow (“the best days of my life!”, he will say on the 12th. June, when setting sail for Spain), days in which the poet sings and drinks, stays up late and dances, enjoys and creates: he writes barren, a drama rooted in his remote rural Andalusia that will become universal due to the penetrating talent with which he exasperates the protagonist, a woman condemned to sterility, a pain that Federico understands well: he himself feels like a barren woman having assumed himself to be a homosexual man. He understands the barren woman.


Federico recited, sang, drank and created work in Casa Encantada, now dilapidated and its beautiful gardens barren

And he understands Flor Loynaz. Federico is inspired every afternoon at Flor’s house: light from chandeliers, oil paintings, statues, sofas, a piano and glasses of whiskey and soda. There Flor Loynaz lives with her brothers, in a house with a romantic garden between Calzada and Línea streets with 14, in the distinguished neighborhood of El Vedado. “Haunted House”, Federico decides to call it before the Loynaz brothers: Enrique, Carlos Manuel, Dulce María (sixty-two years later she will be the Cervantes Prize), the eldest, and Flor (Baby girl either drink), the minor. They are four very sensitive twenty-somethings, artists, poets: Enrique sleeps in a coffin, Dulce María collects mummies and fans, Carlos Manuel ties his dog to the leg of the piano to play twelve-tone pieces, and Flor…

Also Read  50 years without Nino Bravo, the voice that never left | Entertainment | The USA Print

Lorca begins to write the work in Cuba, and in 1936 he sends it back there with his friend Salazar.

“You are to your sex what I am to mine!”, Federico blesses Flor, accomplices and night deniers in the fries de Marianao and the Malecón, booths for timbaleros, bongoseros and black soneros. Federico understands: Flor is not a conventional girl, she is a vegetarian and frees rabbits from the kitchens of El Templete restaurant to release them in her garden and prohibits stepping on ants and drives a 1930 Fiat convertible which she considers a living being and calls it “my coil” and He composes poems for him and cuts his hair to a boy to sneak into port taverns and smokes black tobacco and drinks Bacardi rum.


Flor Loynaz around 1930 in the garden of Casa Encantada, in El Vedado, Havana

Flor is 21 years old and Federico is 31 and they are partners in adventures, extravagances and indiscipline. A suitor rejected by Flor attacks her: “You’ll stay to dress saints!” And Flor happily takes her at her word: with her many dresses she dresses the carvings of saints and martyrs and virgins that populate Casa Encantada, bought and brought from churches in southern Europe. And already on the eve of embarking back to Spain, Federico gives Flor a postcard of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, patron saint of Cuba, telling her: “From a Cuban virgin to another Cuban virgin.”

On the last day, Flor helps Federico pack his luggage, which includes the manuscript of barren. And the poet, who has already given Carlos Manuel papers with scenes from The public (“a frankly homosexual play”, he will say), he promises Flor something: “the manuscript of barren I’ll give it to you” when finished. The manuscript crosses the Atlantic aboard the ship Manuel Arnus in the second half of June 1930, among Cuban sounds that Federico played on a gramophone with his friend Adolfo Salazar, a Spanish musicologist with whom he had shared Havana parties. Already in Granada, Federico completes barren in his room in the Huerta de San Vicente, the balcony open to the sound of the ditches. AND barren It premiered on December 29, 1934 at the Spanish Theater in Madrid, a performance starring the most famous actress in Spain and intimate friend of Federico García Lorca: the great Margarita Xirgu.


The original of ‘Yerma’ in 1980 at the National Museum of Fine Arts, donated by Flor Loynaz


The manuscript of barren He crosses the Atlantic again at the end of 1937, but now he is traveling from Spain to Cuba. She takes it with her Adolfo Salazar. He is sad: Spain is bleeding to death and his friend Federico is dead, assassinated in his own land of Granada in August of the previous year. “Federico’s blood does not dry out with time,” writes Antonio Machado in Valencia, outraged. Adolfo Salazar disembarks in Havana and meets Flor Loynaz, who sees the Spanish friend arrive seven years after having fired him and Federico. Flor collects from Adolfito the manuscript of barren promised by Federico. Adolfo tells him that the last thing Federico did in Madrid on July 13, 1936, before getting on the train that afternoon that would take him to his Granada (and upon his death), was to give him the manuscript of barrenknowing that he would soon embark for Cuba, telling him: “Give it to Flor.”

Also Read  Tod's Classic Review | The USA Print

Happily, ‘Yerma’ was not among the papers that Carlos Manuel Loynaz burned one day in the garden

Where is barren? I ask a niece of Flor’s, Verónica Loynaz (daughter of Ubaldo, Loynaz’s stepbrother): “As a child I used to visit my aunt Flor in her Quinta Santa Bárbara -with a huge garden, in the La Coronela neighborhood-, where did she she had lived since the forties, alone and armed with a shotgun, surrounded by armor and forty dogs named after poets, one of them Juan Ramon. Aunt Flor forbade me to kill even a spider. He smoked a lot of black tobacco. Around 1970, when I was twelve years old and Tía Flor was about sixty-two, I saw the manuscript of barren, some yellow papers They had Lorca’s fingerprints on them, marks from his oiled fingertips because he loved to eat with his fingers. mortadella Cuban, according to what Tía Flor told me.”


‘The siesta’ (Guillermo Collazo, 1888). This is how Casa Encantada was forty years before Lorca arrived (the woman will be the mother of the Loynaz brothers, from 1902 to 1909)

Where is barren? I fervently want to see Lorca’s fingerprints, I need to find this original manuscript of barren. I ask Ciro Bianchi, journalist, chronicler of Havana, scholar of a thousand literary knowledge and Federico García Lorca. Ciro tells me that Juan Marinello (Havana, 1898-1977), a lawyer and writer who was one of Lorca’s best Cuban friends in the 1930s and who in the 1960s and 1970s was a high-ranking Castroist cultural official, was influential in protecting the elitist Loynaz sisters… and advised Flor to deliver the manuscript of barren to the National Patrimony of Cuba.

Where is barren? At the beginning of the 70s, in exchange for a state old-age pension, Flor Loynaz delivered the Lorquian manuscript to the Cuban State. Ten years later, all trace of him was lost, to the point that the García Lorca family was looking for him in Mexico: unsuccessfully, according to what Isabel García Lorca, sister of the poet from Granada, confessed in those days. already given up for lost barren autograph, Dulce María Loynaz (Havana, 1902-1997) points out during an interview with the artist and civil servant Marta Arjona…


Cover of an edition of ‘Yerma’ from 1937, in Chile. with an image of Margarita Xirgu

Where is barren? Marta Arjona (Havana, 1923-2006), revolutionary sculptor and ceramist, was president of the National Council of Cultural Heritage and the founder of the network of museums in Cuba, which has a pearl: the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana. Distributed today in two buildings, its rich archives guard the copy of the collection of poems songs which Lorca affectionately dedicated to Juan Marinello in June 1930, further illustrated with six beautifully colored drawings by the poet.

Also Read  The Museu de Mataró shows the collections seized during the Civil War | Entertainment | The USA Print

“You are to your sex what I am to mine!” Federico García Lorca blesses Flor, accomplices of nights between sounds and rums

Where is barren? Flor Loynaz and Juan Marinello entrusted the manuscript of barren to Marta Arjona, who in 1980 gave an interview in which she revealed to the world’s lorquistas that the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana (which she directs) guards the manuscript of barren and that will restore it. Marta Arjona shows it to the Spanish journalist and theater critic Moisés Pérez Coterillo, who explains it in a three-page report in the weekly black and white (nº 3,536), dated February 6-12, 1980: The ‘Yerma’ manuscript found in Havana , titled, and includes a photographic capture of the first page of the manuscript. Coterillo, an eyewitness, describes it this way: “Leaves of different formats, sometimes written in ink, others in pencil, and their state of preservation is good.”

Where is barren? Forty-three years after Coterillo’s report with Arjona, I ask Dr. Jorge Fernández Torres, today director of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana. He is not aware that the manuscript of barren is in the archives of the Museum and he refers me to Dr. Nuria Estrella Gregori, director of the Institute of Literature and Linguistics, based in the Society of Friends of the Country, which houses the Fernando Ortiz Archive-Library. She is not aware that the manuscript is there either. He refers me to Dr. Madelyn Barrios, director of the Dulce María Loynaz Cultural Center, in El Vedado, where Dulce lived when she moved from Casa Encantada, from the 1940s until her death in 1997… I hope that during this week they will tell me something about the whereabouts of the manuscript.


Lorca at the viewpoint of Yumurí, in Cuba, in 1930

Where is barren? Ciro Bianchi collaborates with me in this search… Where is barren? Cyrus points out that we should rejoice that the manuscript of barren was not among the papers that Carlos Manuel Loynaz decided to burn: driven mad by the bewitching green eyes of a beautiful black Haitian woman, he lit a bonfire in the garden of Casa Encantada and his scores and poems burned there… and papers that Federico García Lorca gave him had given away in 1930 with certain scenes from The public, surreal and homosexual play. They are lost forever.

read also

Silvia Colome

Federico with Conrado Suárez, cabin boy of the Caibarién Yacht Club (April 1, 1930)

Where is barren? Margarita Xirgu, twenty-one months after opening barren In Madrid, he represented it at the Teatro de Comedia de La Habana: there, six years earlier, Federico García Lorca gave his theatrical lectures on cante jondo and modern poetry. Xirgu rises barren to this scene in September 1936. In the final scene, Yerma has to say: “Do not come near because I have killed my son!”. But just before this they confirm to the Xirgu the dreaded and terrible truth: Federico has been murdered in Granada. Devastated, she goes on stage and shouts another sentence: “They have killed my son!” She cries. The public accompanies him through the streets to the Hotel Sevilla. They all cry. Flower cries.

The yellow papers had traces of Lorca, because he loved to eat the Cuban ‘mortadella’ with his fingers

Where is barren? Soon Ciro Bianchi will call me and announce it to me: “We found it!”. I will fly to Havana and look closely at Federico’s handwriting and his fingerprints. I will think about what he confided to his friend Juan Marinello: “I am needed in Spain.” That is why he left Cuba: to give himself to his country as a sacrifice. Shortly before he had written to his mother: “This island is a paradise. Cuba. If I get lost, let them look for me in Andalusia or Cuba”.

And in Cuba we will find him.