Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation
Joan Margarit is one of Spain's major modern writers. Born in 1938, he worked as an architect and first published his work in Spanish, but for the past three decades has become known for his mastery of the Catalan language. The melancholy and candour of his poetry show his affinity with Thomas Hardy, whose work he has translated.
In poems evoking the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, the harshness of life in Barcelona under Franco, and grief at the death of a beloved handicapped daughter, Margarit reminds us that it is not death we have to understand but life. His poetry confronts the worst that life can throw at us, yet what lingers in the mind is its warmth and humanity.
"One of the best, if not the very best, of all contemporary Catalan poets."
Luis Antonio de Villena, El Mundo
"Poems in which the poet risks allÖ This is Margarit at the height of his powers, able to move us more than ever with his sad music, his words that don't attempt to prettify."
Jordi Llavina, Avui
"We already know that literature is a fight to the death with death, but it is a long while since I read a book in which this truth was so visible. So terrifyingly visible, I would say."
Javier Cercas, El PaÌs
"Unlike Heraclitus, Margarit is prepared to believe that we can bathe in the same river twice: because we can wait for and then miss the same trainsÖ These are the ideas that blossom in Margarit's poems; these are the blueprints of human experience which, when drawn in Margarit's language, acquire the unique shape of his private, heartfelt understanding."
Translated by Anna Crowe.