Observing Gernika: 76th Anniversary

On April 26, 1937, the small Basque town of Gernika (Guernica in Spanish) was bombed by German and Italian aircraft, in a raid that, via the war reporting of, especially, George Steer, shocked and stunned the world. It was the first “terror” bombing of a civilian target that had ever happened from the air. Four days later, Picasso started painting one of the most famous paintings of the twentieth century. In 1942, the Basque poet Juan de Larrea wrote a book about the bombing and the painting, and they became antiwar symbols. In his talk at our Gernika anniversary observance, Basque visiting scholar Unai Belaustegi will deliver a lecture, “From Guernica to Gernika, through Juan de Larrea’s Guernica” that explores the relationship between the bombing, Picasso’s famous painting, and Juan de Larrea’s work and shows how Gernika and Guernica have become symbols of the struggle against oppression and violence.

Also in order to observe this event the Center is proud to welcome Sophia Puccini, a dancing, singing poet. She wrote love poems to men and sent them all over the world. The mysteries of the heart continue to intrigue, surprise, and warm the soul of Sophia Puccini. Puccini has loved many men in her lifetime, including Nietzsche, Kafka, Thoreau, Krishnamurti, Jung, Lorca, Jesus, Cervantes, God, Puccini, Chopin—and even President Bush. In her compilation of eighty-eight poems, Il Lupa, written while she was tending her sheep, sweeping her floors, and traveling in Europe, she proves that through it all, she is still a simple woman who enjoys daydreaming about love. Puccini peppers her poetry with lavish imagery while her words explore a passionate relationship that led her to ask questions, solve dilemmas, and eventually seek the truth.