Marta Pessarrodona honoured

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

Foto: Joan Cortadellas

Montserrat Abelló, poet

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Today, 1st February, is the one hundred years ago that Montserrat Abelló was born, a prolific poet full of energy who died in 2014 at the age of 96.

‘Abelló’s poetry, which has been collected into one volume entitled At the Heart of the Words. Collected poems 1963-2002, for which she received the 2003 Lletra d’Or Prize, is notable for a voice that is at once firm and intimate, and for its overall consistency and unity of direction. Although, when Abelló began to write, she was influenced by the socially committed poetry, her situation as a woman and mother after the birth of a mentally handicapped child pushed her into responding to her urge to write.

Over the years, her poetic expression would become sparer and increasingly refined. Themes like love, loneliness, the passing of time and poetic creation acquire in her poetry an incisive and personal touch, recalling the best of the twentieth-century English-language women writers.’

This quotation is the introduction to Abelló’s page Who I Am and Why I Write, where she tells more about her life and work. Read more

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