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Poems from Prison and Life by Marcos Ana

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These poems were written in prison, in the depth of night, by the poor light of a peculiar lamp, assembled from an old inkwell, a little alcohol that I smuggled from the sick bay and a wick plaited from the lace of an espadrille. Afterwards when eyes and keys were waking up, I would hide my words in a shoe and while walking in the prison yard, on a circular path that led nowhere, I would memorise the poems, giving them form and harmony The Spanish Communist poet Marcos Ana (1920-2016) was Spains longest serving political prisoner. Captured by Italian troops at the end of the Civil War, he spent the next 23 years in Francos prisons, often in solitary confinement. In prison he started writing poems, which were smuggled out and published as Poemas desde la cercel(1960). Ana was eventually released in 1961, following an international campaign led by Pablo Neruda, Rafael Alberti, Jean-Paul Sartre, Yves Montand, Pablo Picasso and Joan Baez. Che Guevara was carrying one of Anas books when he was executed. Clear, musical, painful and compelling, Poems from Prison and Life is the first English translation of Anas last book, published when he was 91, in order to open a path of fire and rebellion in the hearts and minds of the new generations, in whose furrows we have sown our history.

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