Miguel Hernandez Gilabert (1910-1942) was born into a poor family in the city of Orihuela in southern Spain. His father raised goats and sheep, and Hernandez was brought up to be a shepherd. At age eleven, he entered the Jesuit Colegio de Santo Domingo, where he learned to read and write, and started to compose poems whose uncanny virtuosity and wild inspiration earned the admiration of Pablo Neruda and Federico Garcia Lorca. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, his poetry took on a new public dimension, and Hernandez would soon enlist in the Republican Army. In 1937, he married Josefina Manresa Marhuenda, the love of his life. The couple lost their first son to malnutrition; a second, Manuel Miguel, was born in 1939. After the defeat of the Republic, Hernandez was condemned to death for his poetry by Francisco Franco, who called him "an extremely dangerous man," a sentence that was subsequently reduced lest he become a martyr like Lorca. Hernandez, imprisoned under brutal conditions and suffering from an advanced case of tuberculosis, continued to write until his death on March 28, 1942; he was thirty-one years old.
Don Share is the senior editor of Poetry magazine. His books of poetry include Squandermania, Union, and most recently, Wishbone. He is the editor of Seneca in English, Bunting's Persia, and with Christian Wiman, The Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine. His translations of Miguel Hernandez were awarded the Times Literary Supplement Translation Prize and the Premio Valle