Title: Yoke and Arrows
By: Rob Hindle
Publisher: Smokestack Books
‘Yoke and Arrows’ is a combination of fictional narrative; factual account; biography and poetry. Hindle takes the story of Fredrico Garcia Lorca’s life and death, amongst the Spanish Civil War, and embellishes it into a layered narrative.
Hindle’s collection takes on a range of voices, often within a single poem. Each voice has a link to Lorca, or the atmosphere that is a background to his death. This use of voices leads the reader into learning about Lorca, in various guises, without hearing from the man himself (I suppose Lorca’s own writings already cover this).
When Lorca does die, Hindle deals with it as a cold fact: “One says next morning Garcia Lorca is dead’. By presenting it plainly as a fact, Hindle allows Lorca’s death to sink into the marsh of dead bodies from this period of Spanish history. However this also creates a condradiction, as Hindle has chosen Lorca as the subject of his book.
The poems observe the constant oppression of the Spanish Civil War, as well as linking the war to stories that span back hundreds of years. However they also describe romantic, natural scenes which seem to symbolise some kind of freedom; even if it is freedom that is impossible to reach. As a result the poems also show how the beauty of nature can be utterly destroyed by the war-waging whims of humankind.
‘Yoke and Arrows’ is an education in history, philosophy and politics. The facts of historical situation are put alongside interesting and poetical moments of abstraction and description.