The Spanish poet Pedro Salinas is a
member of that group of brilliant and
original poets called the Generation of
'27, a group which includes Rafael
Alberti, Jorge Guillen, Luis Cernuda,
Vincente Aleixandre, and Federico Garcia
Lorca. First published as La voz a ti
debida in Madrid in 1933, Salinas'
sequence of seventy poems is his most
famous work, and is thought by many to
be the best book of love poetry written
in this century. Willis Barnstone's
translation makes it available as a
whole for the first time in English.
As part of Spain's vanguard movement,
Salinas believed in reviving elements
from earlier eras, as is demonstrated by
a title such as Razon de amor
(from the medieval Sermon of Love),
as well as Largo Lamento and
La voz a ti debida (from the
Renaissance poet Garcilaso de la Vega).
Salinas shows a natural affinity with
the intricate objectivity of the baroque
poet Gongora, and continues the Spanish
mystical tradition while reaching the
metaphysical through human love. And
though he learned much from earlier
eras, he is also very much of this
century, as is seen in his imagery of
typewriters, telephones, and car
radiators, all deftly handled through a
variety of poetic moods.
In fact, few modern poets have so
discerningly employed the external data
of our experience as transformed through
the emotions and imagination. For
Salinas "Telegraph wires carry kisses."
He is by turns playful, ironic,
sentimental, and despairing, leading us
through love's sense of amazement,
humor, tragedy. Salinas' confessional
persona speaks with extraordinary power,
and the poems operate both individually
and cumulatively. Willis Barnstone's
translation captures the changing tones
of the poet's internal journey, giving
us a deep sense of the variety and
poignancy found in the original.
My Voice Because of You has
been accepted in UNESCO's series of
translations of European literature.