A Conversation/Poetry Reading re: Federico García Lorca in Vermont

About the speaker: Patricia Billingsley has been researching the intersection between the lives of Federico García Lorca and Philip Cummings since 2006. In the course of her research, she has discovered important new archival documents in the United States and Spain and received additional unpublished materials from leading Lorca scholars and biographers. She has given invited talks about Lorca and Cummings at the International Institute in Madrid, the City University of New York (CUNY), and Smith College, and co-curated an exhibition on “Lorca in Vermont” at the CUNY Graduate Center with Christopher Maurer. Her website about Cummings (www.philipcummings.net) has been viewed by over 5,000 visitors since its launch in 2011. A graduate of the University of Delaware (BA, Psychology) and California State University, Northridge (MA, Applied Experimental Psychology), Ms. Billingsley was a software usability analyst before becoming a communications specialist at Smith College. Now an independent scholar, she is writing a book about Lorca's time in Vermont and its surprising repercussions.

Federico García Lorca in Vermont

The celebrated Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) was only 38 years old when he was executed by nationalist partisans at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, at least in part because of his homosexuality. News of Lorca's death galvanized the international community and inspired many young men and women to join the fight against Franco's forces in Spain. To this day, Lorca's poems and plays continue to engage readers, captivate audiences, and inspire writers, musicians, and social activists around the world.

In August 1929, Lorca left his student quarters at Columbia University in New York City, where he was studying English, and traveled to northern Vermont to spend ten days at a lakeside cottage with a young Vermont poet named Philip Cummings. Although Lorca's time in New York has been extensively researched and analyzed, his visit to Vermont and the resulting impact on his life and work have been largely unexplored. Independent scholar Patricia Billingsley will present recent findings that shed new light on the people and places Lorca encountered in Vermont, his relationship with Cummings, and the many ways in which his Vermont experiences influenced the poems in his well-known collection, Poeta en Nueva York/Poet in New York.