Alumna Sarah Arvio '83 Translates Lorca's Extensive Works for 'Poet in Spain'

December 14, 2017

Alumna Sarah Arvio '83 translated poet and playwright Garcia Lorca’s poems into English for the new book, Poet in Spain.


The New York Times’ Book Review calls Arvio a “supple translator,” the first who has taken on Lorca’s rich body of work since the publication of Collected Poems: A Bilingual Edition (1991), edited by Christopher Maurer.


“Unlike Maurer, Arvio omits Lorca’s intemperate and political and Whitman-inflected New York poems, written after he visited the city in 1929 and 1930,” writes Dwight Garner for the Times. “She focuses instead entirely on what she calls his ‘moonlit earthbound Spanish poems.’”


This technique earns praise for Arvio, who was able to create a very personal book out of the renowned poet’s work.


“She has felt free to shift Lorca’s poems around in sequence, as he himself often did when putting together his books,” Garner writes. “Most notably she has shorn the poems of punctuation, as Lorca sometimes did in his drafts.”


“The spare effect can be riveting,” he continues.


Arvio’s previously published book is Night Thoughts: 70 dream poems & notes from an analysis, which is a hybrid work combining poetry, essay and memoir. She has been the recipient of the Rome Prize and the Bogliasco and Guggenheim fellowships, among other honors.


For her latest undertaking, Arvio tackled one of Lorca’s 13 plays, a “rich and gripping retranslation,” according to the Times, of Blood Wedding, which was written in 1932.