This morning the cultural organisation Òmnium Cultural has announced that author Marta Pessarrodona has been awarded the 51st Premi d’Honor de les Lletres Catalanes for her work as a poet, narrator, literary critic, translator, editor and essayist.
The jury praised her among other things for the constant dialogue she has established between Catalan and European literature, especially the Anglosaxon.
The following poem translated into English is symbolic for this connection, as it refers to three women poets (Maria Antònia Salvà, Caterina Albert and Clementina Arderiu) who wrote in Catalan.
FOR MARIA ANTONIA, CATERINA AND CLEMENTINA AND SO MANY, BUT NOT THAT MANY, OTHERS
I knew that you could,
despite a lot of things,
always explain to us
fragments of what we wanted.
I knew that you knew
far more than you wrote down,
were more daring, even,
than could have been expected.
I knew that there was, behind
so many obstacles, so many bolts,
so many doors, learned and locked,
a spring to ease thirst and hunger.
I knew that you had seeds of everything
(I’ve almost always known it)
beyond the patronising silence
it kept my style plain.
I knew I had to search you out
(rummage for out-of-print books),
to read you attentively, closely–you
forerunners of our fallen lives.
Translation: Poetry Ireland