Frederico García lived in Manhattan from 1929 to 1930, and the poetry he wrote about the city, Poet in New York, was posthumously published in 1940. Eighty years after Lorca’s sojourn to America, Nathalie Handal, a poet from New York, went to Spain to write Poet in Andalucía. Handal recreated Lorca’s journey in reverse.
Nathalie Handal's brilliant new volume of poetry, Poet in Andalucia—about Spain, about the Middle East, about shared destinies and hopes—touches me deeply: it reminds us of what's inconsolable, of what's multiple, of what's irreducible, and what's simultaneous.
If writing draws us closer to the Other, a voice so lucid as that of Nathalie Handal becomes a necessity. A perspective such as hers allows for interpreting what transforms, remains, and unites. Poet in Andalucia will be one of the most talked about poetry books of 2012 and beyond.
"Love and Strange Horses . . . trembles with belonging (and longing)."
Handal's newest collection is an ambitious work that looks back at Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca's 1940 classic, Poet in New York. Handal says she recreates 'Lorca's journey in reverse,' by narrating her journey through Spain. Accompanied by comprehensive clarifying notes and a travelogue, Handal's collection resonates with a scholarly understanding of Spain's religious and linguistic influences.
Her work is a brilliant elegance.
An intriguing voice.
The cadence of Nathalie Handal's voice resembles her nomadic life.
This cosmopolitan voice belongs to the human family, and it luxuriates in crossing necessary borders.
These poems make a beautiful reality for the poet, and for us, which is truer than mortar and brick. It's with startling force that Handal builds an architecture for the wanderer, and so makes true the belief that the life of the mind may be a waking dream but it's the place we finally live. In her displacement, Handal's inward tone is of grieving, but the consequence of writing about it, and writing with such fervor, is that cities are created where we can visit.
Nathalie Handal was raised in Latin America, France and the Middle East, and educated in Asia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Her recent poetry books include the flash collection The Republics, winner of the Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing, and the Arab American Book Award; critically acclaimed Poet in Andalucía; and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award. She is the author of eight plays, editor of two anthologies, and her poetry, essays and creative nonfiction have appeared in Vanity Fair, Guernica Magazine, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Nation, The Irish Times, among others. Handal is the recipient of awards from The Lannan Foundation, Centro Andaluz de las Letras, Fondazione di Venezia, Emily Harvey Foundation, among others. Her work brings her to audiences globally. She is a professor at Columbia University, and writes the literary travel column “The City and the Writer” for Words without Borders magazine.