17 July (1927): Frederico Garcia Lorca to Sebastian Gasch

In this fragmented letter, Frederico Garcia Lorca writes to Sebastian Gasch, his long-time friend and art critic of the magazine L’Amic de les Arts, about the safety of art and the terrors of life.  

My dear friend Sebastian:

In effect, you’re right in everything you say. But my state is not one of ‘perpetual dream.’ I’ve expressed myself badly. Some days I’ve skirted the dream, but haven’t fallen totally into it, processing, of course, a tether of laughter to hang on to and a secure wooden scaffold. I never venture into territories alien to man, because I beat a fast retreat and almost always rip up the fruits of my voyage. When I do a purely abstract thing, it always has (I believe) a safe conduct pass of smiles and a rather human equilibrium…

My state is always happy, and this dreaming of mine is not dangerous for me, because I have defenses; it is dangerous for one who lets himself be fascinated by the great dark mirrors that poetry and madness wield at the bottom of their chasms. I HAVE AND I FEEL I HAVE MY FEET FIRMLY ON THE GROUND IN ART. I FEAR the abyss and the dreams in the reality of my life, in love, in the daily encounter with others. And that really is terrible and fantastic…



If you live in New York city and have tomorrow morning off, you may want to join a walking tour of some recently commissioned Lorca murals in Brooklyn. Click here for details.

And for the more sedentary reader, click here for the Arena documentary series episode “The Spirit of Lorca.”