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Federico García Lorca
Fotografía anónima MNCARS 4.jpg
García Lorca in 1932
Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca

(1898-06-05)5 June 1898
Died 19 August 1936(1936-08-19) (aged 38)
Near Alfacar, Granada, Spain
Nationality Spanish
Education Columbia University
University of Granada
  • Playwright
  • poet
  • theatre director
Movement Generation of '27
Parent(s) Federico García Rodríguez
Vicenta Lorca Romero
Federico García Lorca signature.svg

Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca (5 June 1898 – 19 August 1936), known as Federico García Lorca was a Spanish poet, playwright, and theatre director.

He initially rose to fame with Romancero gitano (Gypsy Ballads, 1928), a book of poems depicting life in his native Andalusia. His best-known plays are Blood Wedding (1932), Yerma (1934), and The House of Bernarda Alba (1936).

Life and career

Early years

Federico García Lorca a los seis años de edad
García Lorca c. 1904

Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca was born on 5 June 1898, in Fuente Vaqueros, a small town 17 km west of Granada, southern Spain. His father, Federico García Rodríguez, was a prosperous landowner. García Rodríguez saw his fortunes rise with a boom in the sugar industry. García Lorca's mother, Vicenta Lorca Romero, was a teacher.

Federico garcia lorca con su hermana isabel en granada en 1914
García Lorca with his sister Isabel García Lorca [es] in Granada c. 1914

In 1915, after graduating from secondary school, García Lorca attended the University of Granada. During this time his studies included law, literature, and composition. Throughout his adolescence, he felt a deeper affinity for music than for literature. When he was 11 years old, he began six years of piano lessons with Antonio Segura Mesa, a harmony teacher in the local conservatory and a composer. It was Segura who inspired Federico's dream of a career in music. García Lorca did not turn to writing until Segura's death in 1916, and his first prose works, such as "Nocturne", "Ballade", and "Sonata", drew on musical forms.

As a writer

Salvador Dalí, Federico García Lorca, Barcelona, 1925
Federico García Lorca with Salvador Dalí, Turó Park de la Guineueta, Barcelona, 1925

At the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, García Lorca befriended Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí and many other creative artists who were, or would become, influential across Spain.

García Lorca's first book of poems, Libro de poemas, was published in 1921.

Over the next few years, García Lorca became increasingly involved in Spain's avant-garde. Both his poetry and drawings reflected the influence of traditional Andalusian motifs.

Romancero gitano (Gypsy Ballads, 1928), part of his Cancion series, became his best known book of poetry. In 1928, the book brought him fame across Spain and the Hispanic world, and it was only much later that he gained notability as a playwright. For the rest of his life, the writer would search for the elements of Andaluce culture, trying to find its essence without resorting to the "picturesque" or the clichéd use of "local colour".

In June 1929, García Lorca travelled to the US on the RMS Olympic, a sister liner to the RMS Titanic. In New York he studied English but, as before, was absorbed more by writing than by study. His collection Poeta en Nueva York (Poet in New York, published posthumously in 1940) was a sharp departure from his earlier work and label as a folklorist.

García Lorca's return to Spain in 1930 coincided with the fall of the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera and the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic. In 1931, García Lorca was appointed director of a student theatre company, Teatro Universitario La Barraca (The Shack). It was funded by the Second Republic's Ministry of Education, and it was charged with touring Spain's rural areas in order to introduce audiences to classical Spanish theatre free of charge. With a portable stage and little equipment, they sought to bring theatre to people who had never seen any, with García Lorca directing as well as acting.

Bust of Federico García Lorca in Santoña, Cantabria

As well as returning to the classical roots of theatre, García Lorca also turned to traditional forms in poetry. He spent summers at the Huerta de San Vicente from 1926 to 1936. Here he wrote, totally or in part, some of his major works, among them When Five Years Pass (Así que pasen cinco años) (1931), Blood Wedding (1932), Yerma (1934) and Diván del Tamarit (1931–1936). The poet lived in the Huerta de San Vicente in the days just before his arrest and assassination in August 1936.

Although García Lorca's drawings do not often receive attention, he was also a talented artist.


García Lorca was assassinated by Nationalist forces at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. His remains have never been found, and the motive remains in dispute; some theorize he was targeted for being gay, a socialist, or both, while others view a personal dispute as the more likely cause.


Francisco Franco's Falangist regime placed a general ban on García Lorca's work, which was not rescinded until 1953. It was only after Franco's death that García Lorca's life and death could be openly discussed in Spain.


Federico Garcia Lorca - De profundis - Langebrug, Leiden
The poem De profundis in Leiden, Netherlands, the last of a set of 101 Wall poems in Leiden to be painted

In Granada, the city of his birth, the Parque Federico García Lorca is dedicated to his memory and includes the Huerta de San Vicente, the Lorca family summer home, opened as a museum in 1995. The grounds, including nearly two hectares of land, the two adjoining houses, works of art, and the original furnishings have been preserved. There is a statue of Lorca on the Avenida de la Constitución in the city center, and a cultural center bearing his name is under construction and will play a major role in preserving and disseminating his works.

The Parque Federico García Lorca, in Alfacar, is near Fuente Grande; in 2009, excavations in it failed to locate Lorca's body. Close to the olive tree indicated by some as marking the location of the grave, there is a stone memorial to Federico García Lorca and all other victims of the Civil War, 1936–1939.

At the Barranco de Viznar, between Viznar and Alfacar, there is a memorial stone bearing the words "Lorca eran todos, 18-8-2002" ("All were Lorca ..."). The Barranco de Viznar is the site of mass graves and has been proposed as another possible location of the poet's remains.

García Lorca is honored by a statue prominently located in Madrid's Plaza de Santa Ana.

In Paris, the memory of García Lorca is honored on the Federico García Lorca Garden, in the center of the French capital, on the Seine.

The Fundación Federico García Lorca, directed by Lorca's niece Laura García Lorca, sponsors the celebration and dissemination of the writer's work and is currently building the Centro Federico García Lorca [es] in Madrid. The Lorca family deposited all Federico documents in their possession with the foundation, which holds them on their behalf.

Major works

Poetry collections

  • Impresiones y paisajes [es] (Impressions and Landscapes 1918)
  • Libro de poemas (Book of Poems 1921)
  • Poema del cante jondo [es] (Poem of the Deep Song; written in 1921 but not published until 1931)
  • Suites (written between 1920 and 1923, published posthumously in 1983)
  • Canciones (Songs written between 1921 and 1924, published in 1927)
  • Romancero gitano (Gypsy Ballads 1928)
  • Odes (written 1928)
  • Poeta en Nueva York (written 1930 – published posthumously in 1940, first translation into English as Poet in New York 1940)
  • Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías [es] (Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías 1935)
  • Seis poemas galegos [es] (Six Galician poems 1935)
  • Sonetos del amor oscuro [es] (Sonnets of Dark Love 1936, not published until 1983)
  • Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter and Other Poems (1937)
  • Primeras canciones (First Songs 1936)
  • Diván del Tamarit [es] (The Tamarit Divan, poems written 1931–34 and not published until after his death in a special edition of Revista Hispánica Moderna in 1940).
  • Selected Poems (1941)

Select translations

  • Poem of the Deep Song – Poema del Cante Jondo, translated by Carlos Bauer (includes original Spanish verses). City Lights Books, 1987 ISBN: 0-87286-205-4
  • Poem of the Deep Song, translated by Ralph Angel. Sarabande Books, 2006 ISBN: 1-932511-40-7
  • Gypsy Ballads: A Version of the Romancero Gitano of Federico García Lorca Translated by Michael Hartnett. Goldsmith Press 1973
  • "Poet in New York-Poeta en Nueva York," translated by Pablo Medina and Mark Statman (includes original Spanish, with a preface by Edward Hirsch), Grove Press, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-8021-4353-2; 0-8021-4353-9
  • Gypsy Ballads, bilingual edition translated by Jane Duran and Gloria García Lorca. Enitharmon Press 2016
  • Sonnets of Dark Love - The Tamarit Divan, bilingual edition translated by Jane Duran and Gloria García Lorca with essays by Christopher Maurer and Andrés Soria Olmedo. Enitharmon Press 2016


  • Christ: A Religious Tragedy (unfinished 1917)
  • The Butterfly's Evil Spell: (written 1919–20, first production 1920)
  • The Billy-Club Puppets: (written 1922–5, first production 1937)
  • The Puppet Play of Don Cristóbal: (written 1923, first production 1935)
  • Mariana Pineda (written 1923–25, first production 1927)
  • The Curse of the Butterfly, first production 1927 in the Teatro Eslava, Madrid
  • The Shoemaker's Prodigious Wife: (written 1926–30, first production 1930, revised 1933)
  • The Love of Don Perlimplín and Belisa in the Garden: (written 1928, first production 1933)
  • The Public: (written 1929–30, first production 1972); only an incomplete draft is known
  • When Five Years Pass: (written 1931, first production 1945)
  • Blood Wedding: (written 1932, first production 1933)
  • Yerma (written 1934, first production 1934)
  • Doña Rosita the Spinster: (written 1935, first production 1935)
  • Play Without a Title: (only one act, written 1936, first production 1986)
  • The House of Bernarda Alba: (written 1936, first production 1945)
  • Dreams of my Cousin Aurelia: (unfinished)

Short plays

  • El paseo de Buster Keaton (Buster Keaton goes for a stroll 1928)
  • La doncella, el marinero y el estudiante (The Maiden, the Sailor and the Student 1928)
  • Quimera (Dream 1928)


  • Viaje a la luna (Trip to the Moon 1929)


  • Lola, la Comedianta (Lola, the Actress, unfinished collaboration with Manuel de Falla 1923)

Drawings and paintings

  • Salvador Dalí, 1925. 160 × 140 mm. Ink and colored pencil on paper. Private collection, Barcelona, Spain
  • Bust of a Dead Man, 1932. Ink and colored pencil on paper. Chicago, Illinois

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Federico García Lorca para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Notable Hispanic authors
Gustavo Gac-Artigas
Lucia M. Gonzalez
Meg Medina
R. J. Palacio
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