“Gacela of Unforeseen Love” is the first poem in Federico García Lorca’s collection entitled Diván del Tamarit. The words diván and “Tamarit” both have several meanings. Originally, the Tamarit was the chief administrative office of Arabic power in Spain during the period of medieval Moorish domination. It was also the name of a family home in the country where García Lorca spent summers until the time of his death. “Divan” was the Arabic name for the assembly of governors who held council with the Tamarit; a divan is also a collection of poems. In Spanish, diván also means “reunion.” By celebrating the spirit of all southern Spain, the collection may be seen as García Lorca’s attempt to come to a “reunion” with his past.
García Lorca labeled the twenty-one poems in the collection as either gacelas or casidas, forms invented by Hafiz, a fourteenth century Persian poet. In Arabic, a gacela is a short lyric form, usually with the theme of love; the casida is a longer poem of varied elements, one of which is the elegiac reminiscence of love or parting. The casida tends to be more abstract than the gacela; however, García Lorca neither adhered strictly to their Arabic forms nor made any real distinction between the two forms. García Lorca’s language and imagery are drawn from his own surrealistic and folk-ballad styles.
(The entire section is 503 words.)