Miguel Hernández, a leading figure in 2017

  • Culture

Miguel Hernández, a leading figure in 2017

Portrait of Miguel Hernández drawn by the playwright Antonio Buero Vallejo at the request of the poet from Orihuela during his stay in a Madrid prison. EFE/jgb
Portrait of Miguel Hernández drawn by the playwright Antonio Buero Vallejo at the request of the poet from Orihuela during his stay in a Madrid prison. EFE/jgb

75 years ago, on 28 March 1942, one of the most influential Spanish poets and playwrights died in jail in Alicante: Miguel Hernández, the maximum exponent of what is known as ‘wartime poetry’.

In order to commemorate this occasion, Orihuela, the poet’s home town, has organised numerous cultural activities as part of what is known as the “Year of Hernández 2017”, which officially started on 6 March with a ceremony held in the University Cloister of Santo Domingo, the university where the poet began his studies.

Exhibitions, recitals and workshops will commemorate the work of Hernández at different emblematic places in the city throughout this year, as well as in Elche,another city that is closely linked to the poet, and at various institutions, including the Cervantes Institute, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and Valencia City Council.

The main events include the “50×50” exhibition, taking place at the Casa Museo Miguel Hernández which brings together the paintings of artists such as Sergi Aguilar, Andreu Alfaro, Rafael Armengol and Miquel Abad, which reflect their vision of the writer’s art.

The events scheduled for the 28 March, the day on which the poet died, will also be very special, including the visit of the Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, Íñigo Fernández de Vigo, as well as theatre workshops with the Expresión group, who will perform “Miguel’s suitcase”. Furthermore, there will be a poetry vigil which will take place in the Rincón Hernandiano.

Meanwhile, particular attention has been paid to the events which are to take place during the IVth International Miguel Hernández Conference, going by the name of “Miguel Hernández: poet of the world”, which is to be held in Elche and Alicante, between 15 and 17 November.

The conference will bring together prominent European and American experts of the work of Hernández and shall be chaired by Raúl Zurita, one of the most outstanding Spanish-language poets. It will be divided into four sections: “Miguel Hernández in America”, “Miguel Hernández in other languages”, “Diffusion and technologies: Miguel Hernández in the twenty-first century” and “Miguel Hernández today”.

In every corner of the world

One of the institutions involved in the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Miguel Hernández’s death has focused specifically on the international diffusion of his work: the Cervantes Institute, which will disseminate his poetic legacy via its 58 sites and over 150 accredited centres, according to the announcement made by Juan Manuel Bonet, its director.

Furthermore, the poetry of the Spanish writer - strongly marked by the Spanish Civil War – is set to travel to the Syrian refugee camps in Greece through ACNUR and PROEM-AID, where drama workshops are to be carried out using the work of Miguel Hernández with the aim of transmitting some of the love, justice and freedom that he reflected in his plays.

Using the material collated through this project, a documentary and exhibition are to be produced which will form part of the programme of events to mark the 75th anniversary of the poet’s death in Elche.