Title

Musical vs. Pictorial Ekphrasis in Twentieth-Century Hispanic Poetry

Subject Area

Literary Criticism

Abstract

This paper explores the intertextual frontier of music, painting, and poetry in the Spanish language. Beginning with Hispanic Modernismo poets like Manuel Machado found inspiration in an ekphrastic relationship with Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, and other painters, often subverting the visual image with wordplay, unexpected allusions, free associations, and other devices to create competing imaginary spaces, taking the original image into a startling interpretation. The majority of ekphrastic poems have focused on one or more specific paintings, which allows the reader to re-visualize the work in question. Musical ekphrasis attacks its inspiration far more broadly. For example, in his Poema del cante jondo Federico García Lorca evokes an entire palo, or flamenco musical form, rather than a discrete embodiment of that form. The same is true with the son poems of Nicolás Guillén. Is “musical ekphrasis,” then, even ekphrastic in the same sense as pictorial ekphrasis? Considering the ideas of Krieger, Bruhn, Heffernen, Manabe, and Hughes, among others, I will examine key texts in an effort to clarify the idea of ekphrasis in Hispanic poetry.

Brief Bio Note

Ph.D., University of Georgia. Dissertation: La poesía agónica de José Luis Hidalgo. Associate Professor of Spanish-language Poetry at the University of North Texas. Has presented and published on poetry, ekphrasis, culture, and translation, including articles, chapters, and books.

Keywords

Hispanic poetry, ekphrasis, painting, music, flamenco, García Lorca, Manuel Machado

Location

Room 217

Presentation Year

March 2017

Start Date

3-23-2017 11:05 AM

Embargo

10-28-2016

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Mar 23rd, 11:05 AM

Musical vs. Pictorial Ekphrasis in Twentieth-Century Hispanic Poetry

Room 217

This paper explores the intertextual frontier of music, painting, and poetry in the Spanish language. Beginning with Hispanic Modernismo poets like Manuel Machado found inspiration in an ekphrastic relationship with Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, and other painters, often subverting the visual image with wordplay, unexpected allusions, free associations, and other devices to create competing imaginary spaces, taking the original image into a startling interpretation. The majority of ekphrastic poems have focused on one or more specific paintings, which allows the reader to re-visualize the work in question. Musical ekphrasis attacks its inspiration far more broadly. For example, in his Poema del cante jondo Federico García Lorca evokes an entire palo, or flamenco musical form, rather than a discrete embodiment of that form. The same is true with the son poems of Nicolás Guillén. Is “musical ekphrasis,” then, even ekphrastic in the same sense as pictorial ekphrasis? Considering the ideas of Krieger, Bruhn, Heffernen, Manabe, and Hughes, among others, I will examine key texts in an effort to clarify the idea of ekphrasis in Hispanic poetry.