Translator's notes

Dawn in Valencia

By Antonio Machado

‘Dawn in Valencia’ is one of nine sonnets which appeared together in the June 1938 issue of the republican journal, Hora de España, based in Valencia.I knew from somewhere in the back of my mind that Machado had written poems during and about the civil war, but they never seemed to surface in any of the collections I had read. It was a double surprise eventually to ‘unearth’ these: not only were they not sporadic but formed a unified sequence in themselves; also, the chosen form was one I had not seen in his work before. It was a time of terrible upheaval and violence, but Machado recreates the Valencia of his mind and memory and holds it within the secure formal containment of the sonnet, an emblem of devotion and defiance.

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