Literature about Barcelona

Articles in ‘Literature about Barcelona’

The death of Manuel Vázquez Montalbán

October 23rd, 2013
Foto: Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of the death of the great Barcelonan writer Manuel Vázquez Montalbán. An article I wrote here on him and a better one here by Mike Eaude

Last week (18th October) was the tenth anniversary of the death of the great Barcelonan writer Manuel Vázquez Montalbán. An article I wrote here on him—manuel-vázquez-montalbán/ and a better one here by Mike Eaude

A poem about Barcelona

June 12th, 2010

I liked this poem by Paul Blackburn (1926-71) set in Barcelona in the 1960s. The complete poem is here with the correct spacing between the words. It is published in the excellent literary magazine Barcelona Ink.

When Blackburn was asked in 1962 how he would like to die he answered “in Barcelona during a revolution against F. Franco”.

The Touch

The windows
are never wide enuf.
Calle de Vidrio, Barcelona, is
off Fernando, toward the Plaza Real;
short, tight, narrow, &
leads toward the palmtrees
Th e corner bar to the left is
three to fi ve pesetas cheaper than
the one to the right
as you enter, plenty of
sky, trees, a fountain, the
arcades sit over each side we
sit with gambas, cervezas, dis-
cuss my sis-
ter’s imminent
arrival I face
the walls, cannot see Y
the palmtrees behind me GAMBAS
it says

The complete poem is here

Langston Hughes on Barcelona

May 26th, 2010

The Afro-American poet Langston Hughes visited Barcelona in 1937 as a  newspaper correspondent for the Baltimore Afro-American. He saw the terrible destruction in the city caused by the bombing.

I came down from Paris by train. We reached Barcelona at night. The day before had been a terrific air raid in the city, killing about a hundred and wounding a great deal more. We read about it in the papers at the border. Last night, I thought. Well tonight, I’ll be there. Here (October 23, 1937)

He was inspired to write the poem Air raid: Barcelona (from here). The imagery is stark. East is back to Mallorca where Mussolini’s squadrons were based.

The death birds wheel East
To their lairs again
Leaving iron eggs
In the streets of Spain.

Air raid: Barcelona by Langston Hughes

Black smoke of sound
Curls against the midnight sky. Read the rest of this entry

Books in English set in Barcelona

March 8th, 2010

The Oh Barcelona site has a short but good round-up of the books in English set in Barcelona. Montalbán,  Mendoza, Ruiz Zafon, Tóibín, Hughes, etc. More here

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