Twelve Days: Six Catalan Poets


In the middle of the twelve days of Christmas, the year is turning. It’s a time to remember the good and bad in the year that’s fading, and perhaps to hope for something better in the year to come.

One of the highlights of last year for me was visiting Barcelona, a place that’s certainly hoping for something better in 2018. I took this photo inside the Sagrada Familia, and discovered some wonderful Catalan literature, including this book of Six Catalan Poets,  translated by Anna Crowe and edited by Pere Bellart. Here’s one of each: if you count the original and Crowe’s translation, you’ve got enough to last you for the twelve days.

Catalonia’s, and Spain’s, past could weigh heavy in this collection; it’s always there, but not in the way you might expect. Most of the poets were children when Franco’s dictatorship ended, like Elies Barberà:

BarberaCrowe20Nov75Gemma Gorga is the only woman in the collection, and reading her was very frustrating – because I found her so good that I wanted to read more, but almost nothing else has been translated into English! Here’s her take on Christmas:

GorgaCroweJoyeuxNoelToday is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the children Herod had murdered when he was looking for the baby Jesus. Carles Torner’s poem is fitting for that:

TornerCroweTheChildJordi Julià knows that sometimes, there’s no returning to the past:

JuliaCroweDeepInTheFleshThough for Mallorcan poet Josep Lluís Aguiló, there are treasures to be found in the space between:

AguiloCroweShadowsLastly, Manuel Forcano reminds you not to get stuck in the past, however beautiful it might be, but to reach forward, to somewhere entirely different:


Wishing you every blessing as you reach forward into 2018!






Translator, editor, writer, reader

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