David Romtvedt and Xabier Irujo have translated for the first time into English the poems by Jose Mari Iparragirre. The Tree of Gernika presents for the first time in English translation the complete poems and songs of Joxe Mari Iparragirre, the nineteenth-century Basque poet and troubadour whose life encapsulates Basque experience in a time of loss and transformation.
Iparragirre offers a vision of acceptance understanding and peace that is especially important in times of cultural and social discord.
Commenting on politics, technological change, the natural world, and historical figures, Iparragirre makes history present. In his somewhat sardonic poems on love, he reveals the foibles and longings we all know. Perhaps most important is his passion and tenderness toward both the Basque Country and the Basque laws.
Two hundred years after his birth in 1820, Iparragirre offers a vision of acceptance understanding and peace that is especially important in times of cultural and social discord. The Tree of Gernika opens a window onto a world that is largely unfamiliar to English speaking readers, shining a light both on what distinguishes us from one another and on what we share.
For all the Basque Americans who have been confined during the spring by the Covid-19 pandemic, locked up inside our homes and farther than ever from the Basque Country, we have come closer than ever to the song that Iparragirre wrote and sang and that we all have in our hearts: Agur Euskal Herriari.