Joan Margaret just won the Cervantes Prize 2019. The most important literary award in the Spanish language, endowed with 125.000 euros, has gone to this Catalan poet who has cultivated his work in both languages, as a standard bearer of a cultural conjunction beyond any ideology. These are 4 of his poems to get to know him, read it or rediscover it.
Table of Contents
Joan Margarit i Consarnau was born in Sanahuja, Lleida, on May 11, 1938. It is poet, architect and professor already retired from the Polytechnic University of Barcelona. As a poet started publishing in Spanish back in the 60's with Songs for the choir of a man alone. And he did not do it again until ten years later with Crónica. A few years later he began to publish in Catalan. Is he himself the translator of his work into Spanish, although he also writes indistinctly in one or the other. Last year he published his memoirs: To have a house you have to win the war.
En 2008 Joan Margarit was National Poetry Award and also National Prize for Literature of the Generalitat of Catalonia. And in 2013 also won the award Poets of the Latin World Víctor Sandoval, from Mexico. This Cervantes Award crowns his career, which is also that of one of the most widely read contemporary poets in Spanish.
An anthology to read is that of All the poems (1975-2015). I have chosen these four.
Four in the morning
The first dog howls, and right away
there is an echo in a courtyard, others resonate
at the same time in a single bark,
harsh and without rhythm.
They bark, their snouts skyward.
Where do you come from, dogs? What tomorrow
evoke the barking of the night?
I hear how you bark at my daughter's dream
from the pallet, surrounded by excrement
with which you mark a territory
of alleys, patios, open spaces.
As I have been doing
with my poems, from where I howl
and I mark the territory of death.
You always looked ahead
as if the sea were there. You created
in this way a movement of waves
alien and mythical on some beach.
We were united by the dangerous force
that gives love loneliness.
It still makes my fingers tremble,
imperceptibly this paper.
Abandoned path between you and me,
covered by letters, dead leaves.
But I know the path persists.
If I lay my hand on the little bundle,
I feel it resting on your back.
You used to listen forward
as if the sea were there, already transformed
in a tired, hoarse and warm voice.
Little unites us yet: only the trembling
of this fine paper between the fingers.
You are missing so many things.
So the days fill
moments made of waiting for your hands,
to miss your little hands,
that they took mine so many times.
We have to get used to your absence.
A summer has already passed without your eyes
and the sea will also have to get used to it.
Your street, still for a long time,
will wait, in front of your door,
with patience, your steps.
You will never tire of waiting:
nobody knows how to wait like a street.
And this will fills me
that you touch me and that you look at me,
that you tell me what to do with my life,
As the days go by, with rain or blue sky,
already organizing loneliness.
Headlights at night
I try to seduce you in the past.
Hands on the wheel and this light
from the nightclub of the dashboard
-winter fantasy- dance with you.
Behind me, just like a big truck,
tomorrow makes bursts of lights.
Nobody drives it and overtakes me,
but now you and I travel together
and the car can be the two horses
from the sixties to Paris.
"Je ne regrette rien" sings Edith Piaf.
Under the window, the night comes in
cold from the freeway, and the past
he approaches head-on, swiftly:
cross and blind me without lowering the lights.