Escuela de Arte N 10, Madrid, Spain
with Gerard Hadders and Simon Davies
Spring 2008

Link to
student work
presented by Borja de Vega

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Two poems by Antonio Machado (Spanish, b. Seville, 1875-1939)

Machado is on of Spain?s most revered poets of the early 20th century. The language of Macado?s poems is spare, relying strongly on nouns and adjectives, asserting more than describing. Machado saw the romance (ballad) tradition as lying at the heart of the authentic Spanish poetic tradition. English cannot recreate the assonance on which he relied, but his translation captures the essential rhythm as well as the poignancy of the original.

En nuestras almas todo
por misteriosa mano se gobierna.
Incomprensibles, mudas,
nada sabemos de las almas nuestras.

Las más hondas palabras
del sabio nos enseñan,
lo que el silbar del viento cuando sopla,
o el sonar de las aguas cuando ruedan.

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In our souls everything
moves guided by a mysterious hand.
We know nothing of our own souls
that are ununderstandable and say nothing.

The deepest words
of the wise man teach us
the same as the whistle of the wind when it blows
or the sound of the water when it is flowing.

(Translated by Robert Bly)
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Antonio Machado, A retelling of the poem En nuestras almas todo...

_come up with 3 words that amply reflect and/or frame what this poem means to you (get personal!);
_now, in your own words, from your own experience, using the 3 associative words as clue, compose your own version of the poem
_you will be asked to recite this poem for your classmates

_consider your place and assign to it 3 descriptive words
_avoid words like beautiful, ugly, safe, dangerous; think instead: color, texture, atmosphere, sound, taste, smell?
_how do your 3 words compare to your conception of piyo or macarra?
_adjust your 3 words, if necessary

Character is created through a combination of knowledge and imagination. The creation of a character begins therefore with what you already know. Characters do not exist in a vacuum. They are products of their environment. All characters have ethnic backgrounds, social backgrounds, religious and educational backgrounds. Culture determines speech rhythms, grammar and vocabulary. Paradoxes exist within every character. People are inherently illogical and unpredictable; they do things that surprise us, startle us, change all our preconceived ideas about them (consider Catherine Deneuve?s character in the 1967 Luis Buñeul film, Belle de Jour). Inconsistencies create complexity. Emotions, attitudes and values round out a character. Details make a character specific and unique.

_from your group?s database, select a character (no duplicates, if it can be avoided);
_attribute your 3 words to this character and come up with an additional 9; the resulting 12 words, taken together, should provide sufficient information about your character from you can create a personality.

_Taking what you know and have imagined about your character, write a short story that places the character in direct interaction, or conflict, with the place;
_your character is the protagonist: the chief character whose actions are the primary focus of a story; defender of a cause, idea, etc. (consider Mr White in Quentin Tarantino?s 1992 film Reservoir Dogs); not necessarily the hero of the story;
_the place is the antagonist: the opponent, or foil; often but not always the villain, which can be a person or a force of nature, a set of circumstances, an animal (think: Jaws), etc.
_your story can be a short piece of fiction; a poem, song lyrics; a piece of sensational journalism; an animated police report; a love letter?

_Each group must select 1 character for whom they will create a comfort piece
_Continue to play with and use language to drive your ideas and to expose faulty logic
Meghan Ferrill