Laura Lopez | Segovia (EFE).- This Wednesday marks the 84th anniversary of the death of Antonio Machado in Coillure (France), but his message about the importance of poetry, the commitment to culture and the cultivation of critical thinking is still alive in the city of Segovia, where the poet lived between 1919 and 1932.
It was in this city, which today honors his memory in his House-Museum with flowers and songs and recitals of his poems, where Antonio Machado began to “multiply his voices” through his apocryphal poets, which allowed him to “experiment” styles with those that had not been identified before, such as avant-garde.
A room: the germ of invented writers
This was explained in an interview with Agencia EFE by the academic of the Royal Academy of History and Art of San Quirce Juan Antonio del Barrio Álvarez, who recalled that in the room that is so well preserved today, the germ of invented writers was born Abel Martin and Juan de Mairena.
“It is a turn of the screw to want to look for the possibility of multiplying thought, of not only expressing an idea, but of trying to put yourself in the mind and heart of other people and thus seek that dialectic of the social and the personal”, the academic commented.
With this narrative resource, Machado delves into his vision that “there is no idea about things” nor “a closed opinion” and his defense of “dialogue” and “mental and intellectual openness”, which turns out to be “the opposite to fanaticism”, according to this philologist.
Machado in Segovia
Antonio Machado arrived in Segovia in November 1919 to take up the Chair of French at the city’s General and Technical Institute, after having spent a few years in Baeza (Jaén) after the death of his beloved Leonor, in an attempt to get closer to Madrid. , when he was already a renowned poet.
It was the “tremendous coincidence” that a week before, a group of professors had founded the Universidad Popular Segoviana, a pioneering educational initiative in Spain motivated by the idea that “culture cannot be the patrimony of a few, but rather has It has to be shared and reach all parts of society”.
This idea of a Segovia that was “culturally rejuvenating” after the Spanish crisis at the end of the 19th century, reaches a Machado “increasingly concerned” by the economic but also cultural and educational depression, and joins this altruistic pedagogical work aimed at the working class of the city.
During the twelve years that Machado lived in his room in the pension located near the Plaza Mayor in Segovia, for which he paid five pesetas a day, the poet published “Nuevas Canciones” in 1924 and several plays together with his brother, at the who visited weekly in Madrid.
Segovian scholars of Machado’s work cannot help but lament the few references to the city that the poet makes during this period: “This is a part that we miss a little bit,” acknowledges Juan Antonio del Barrio.
Segovia in his heart, not in his verses
Machado had left behind the historical and critical landscape painting of “Campos de Castilla” (1912) and dedicates “very few verses” to Segovia, some reserved for the Madrid poet Pilar de Valderrama, Guiomar, whom he met in the Castilian-Leonese city.
“Very little of the scenic Segovia but very much in the heart of the social Segovia and the Segovia that made him change his work and change his life at this time,” Del Barrio summarized.
And it is that Antonio Machado also lived here a moment of political maturity, when he saw in the republic “the best system of Government” that could save Spain from the cultural decadence in which it found itself, and thus defended it in the face of the elections legislative of 1931.
He himself presided over a rally in which Ortega y Gasset, Gregorio Marañón and Ramón Pérez de Ayala participated in the Juan Bravo Theater, three hundred meters from where he lived, and when the Second Republic was proclaimed, he was in charge of raising the flag in the balcony of the Town Hall.
Although not much of Segovia remained in the poet’s work, a deep imprint of the author did last in Segovia, especially in the memory of his students and disciples, which has made his pedagogical vocation to spread interest in poetry, culture and critical thinking survives to this day.
A symbol of this is the Antonio Machado House-Museum in the city, which since 1949 has been a place for literary gatherings and popular tributes to the poet, including one “very closely watched during the dictatorship” in 1959, twenty years after his death. From the writer.
Every February 22, the doors of this house are opened to the public free of charge so that many students from schools and institutes, residents of the city and other poets linked to Segovia visit it, make their floral offerings and recite the poems of the honoree.
This is how, through today’s schoolteachers, artists and scholars of culture, the spell of Machado still reaches every corner of Segovia and impregnates old and new disciples.
Some as new as the six and seven-year-old children from the Fray Juan de la Cruz school, who this morning sang in the patio of the writer’s house, as if they were knocking on his window to let him out, his poem “Pegasos, cute pegasos ”, guided and infected by the enthusiasm of their teacher. EFE