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Paco Díez & Anthony Geist
"Twelve Songs for Twelve Poets"

Music is deeply imbedded in the DNA of poetry. From the epic poems of Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages to Cuban repentismo and Puerto Rican décimas, from traditional balladry to contemporary singer-songwriters, over the centuries poetry has been transmitted orally through music.


“Twelve Songs for Twelve Poets” is a unique, creative project, offering twelve poems by Spanish-language poets translated to English and recited by Anthony Geist, professor of Spanish at the University of Washington, set to music and sung in the original by the Spanish musician and philologist Paco Díez.

The poets included in the repertoire are from Spain, Latin America and include US Hispanics and a Sephardic poet who writes in Ladino.

In a presentation that lasts approximately 75 minutes, “Twelve Songs” offers the audience an intimate and moving insight into these great poets.

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Rafael Alberti (Spain)

Rosario Castellanos (Mexico)

Rita Gabbaï-Simantov (Greece)

Federico García Lorca (Spain)

Luis García Montero (Spain)

Luis (Lucho) Hernández (Peru)

Raquel Lanseros (Spain)

Ada Limón (California)

Antonio Machado (Spain)

Mar Sancho (Spain)

Vanessa Torres (Colombia/California)

Fernando Valverde (Spain)


PACO DÍEZ, Castellano, de Piñel de Abajo (Valladolid-España), a graduate in Philology and a self-taught musician, began his musical career in 1978, focusing most of his career on transmitting the Iberian Musical Cultural and Sephardic Music with his very personal voice accompanied by guitar, mandola, bagpipe, and percussions. He's the founder and director of the Aula-Museo Paco Díez with more than 450 pieces of exhibitions.

Paco Díez was invited to perform for the Spanish King Felip VI, and he was awarded with numerous honors and medals worldwide, including the Ladino Medal from the Autoridad Naional del Ladino Israel,  the Medaille d'Argent from Ligue Universelle du Bien Publique, and more.

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Anthony L. Geist is a professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington, having taught previously at Princeton, the University of Texas (San Antonio) and Dartmouth College. He did his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of California, working summers as a heavy construction carpenter. He has published widely on Spanish and Latin American poetry, with an emphasis on the Generation of 27, the avant-garde and surrealism. He has also worked in visual studies, curating art exhibits and co-directing a documentary film on the Lincoln Brigade. His translation of the Peruvian poet Lucho Hernández was a finalist for the PEN Prize in 2016. In that same year he was knighted in the Order of Isabella the Catholic Queen with the rank of Cruz de Oficial.

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