Kotba, Uncategorized

John Aquilina | Tluq

Fil-Mitħna — Ċentru Arti, Kultura u Snajja’, Triq in-Naxxar, Birkirkara, fil-21 ta’ Settembru 2019, fis-7.30 pm, se ssir it-tnedija ta’ Tluq, ġabra ta’ poeżiji ġodda ta’ John Aquilina. Il-ktieb hu ppubblikat minn Edizzjoni Skarta, b’disinn oriġinali ta’ Marco Scerri.

Il-ktieb jinsab għall-bejgħ minn fuq is-sit elettroniku jew il-ħanut tal-BDL ta’ San Ġwann jew inkella direttament mingħand John Aquilina.

Waqt is-serata, għadd ta’ poeżiji mill-ġabra se jinqraw mill-attur Jacob Piccinino u jitkantaw mill-mezzo-soprano Claire Ghigo, b’akkumpanjament ta’ mużika oriġinali ta’ Alex Vella Gregory. Se jkun hemm  ukoll diskors kritiku mill-poeta Antoine Cassar li kien l-editur tal-ġabra.

L-avveniment hu bla ħlas u miftuħ għall-pubbliku. Il-ktieb se jinbiegħ għall-prezz ta’ 10.

Waqt it-tnedija, min hu interessat se jkun ukoll jista’ jixtri l-ewwel ktieb tal-awtur, Leħnek il-Libsa Tiegħi, li kien rebaħ il-Premju Nazzjonali tal-Ktieb fl-2010. Il-ktieb jinsab għall-bejgħ minn fuq is-sit elettroniku jew il-ħanut tal-BDL ta’ San Ġwann jew inkella direttament mingħand John Aquilina.

John Aquilina ilu jikteb mill-1994 u din hi t-tieni ġabra ta’ poeżiji tiegħu. Studja l-Matematika, u ilu jaħdem fid-dinja finanzjarja f’Londra mill-2005.

Post: Il-Mitħna — Ċentru Arti, Kultura u Snajja’, Triq in-Naxxar, Birkirkara

Data:  Is-Sibt 21 ta’ Settembru, 2019

Ħinijiet: 19:30 – 20:30

Paġna Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2342694679171124/

Ara wkoll: https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/arts/entertainment/97468/the_rich_tapestries_of_memory_john_aquilina#.XYSWzpMzbOR



Kotba, Kummenti, Uncategorized

Nadia Mifsud | The faraway nearby

France-based, Malta-born poet Nadia Mifsud speaks to us about her latest poetry collection ‘Kantuniera ‘l boghod’, which explores issues of womanhood as well as the experience of the ‘Maltese abroad’

Teodor Reljic

Malta Today | 15 September 2015

Nadia Mifsud reading from her new poetry collection at this year’s edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival • Photo by Virginia Monteforte

Nadia Mifsud reading from her new poetry collection at this year’s edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival • Photo by Virginia Monteforte


When did you first realise that poetry was to become an abiding passion for you, and how did you follow through with it?

I started writing poetry at a very young age. The first poem I remember writing was for my cousin – she had appendicitis and had to spend some days in hospital. I don’t recall exactly how old I was then but I know I was still in primary school. The content must have been very childish but it did have the form of a poem and the lines did rhyme. Moreover, it felt like the most natural thing to do.

Back then, I simply believed that everyone wrote poetry but kept it to themselves, so most of the time, when I wrote something I would either hide it or simply throw it away. I continued to write poetry throughout secondary school and Sixth Form, most of which I kept to myself or shared only with my closest friends.

By that time, I had come to realise that most people do not write poetry, and I was afraid I might come over as weird. I loved writing per se, and was actually lucky to have language teachers who offered strong encouragement and very good advice all the way. When I was in University, I stopped writing altogether.

Maybe because I was reading so much, not just literature but also literary criticism, history, philosophy, psychology, sociology. Or maybe because all my energy was then geared towards French (mastering the language so as to be mistaken for a native), my ultimate aim being to settle in France once I’d finished my B.A. It took me years to come back to poetry (or maybe it was the other way round, it was actually poetry that came back to me, as romantic as that may sound).

Considering how – to put it broadly – the idea of ‘womanhood’ is central to your poetry (Immanuel Mifsud’s introduction to the collection focuses exclusively on it), did you find many Maltese-language forbears and influences in this regard when you were first starting to write? Or were writers from other countries – as well as, of course, your own personal experience – the main spur? 

People often ask me why I write so much about “womanhood”. My answer to that usually is: “Why shouldn’t I write about womanhood?” After all, Maltese literature has only just started exploring some of the complexities that go into such a vast notion. Local women writers were more than scarce on the school curriculum when I was young.

I dimly recall studying a couple of poems by Mary Meylak and Lillian Sciberras in secondary school. If you wanted to read works by female authors, you had to turn to foreign literature. Of course, later on I discovered the works of Doreen Micallef who occupies quite a singular role in the history of Maltese literature. And even later than that, I was stirred by Maria Grech Ganado’s ‘Iżda Mhux Biss’ (not just the poem, but also the whole collection).

Hélène Cixous’s exhortation to “write the body” does act, as Immanuel Mifsud points out in his introduction, as a major driving-force in the process of creation.

On this note, would you say that female writers – and especially female poets – are adequately represented in the contemporary Maltese literary landscape?

Quite, yes. Especially where poetry is concerned. I’m admiring of what female poets have accomplished in the past few years, and I’m pretty sure that the future has some very nice surprises in store for us. I would love to see many more women experimenting with prose, however, especially with novels. I think that, in this particular area, we’re still lagging behind.

Another aspect of your collection is the experience of ‘the Maltese abroad’, or at least the perception Maltese people have about both the country they’ve emigrated into, and their memories of Malta while they’re there. What attracts you to this particular theme, and why do you think it’s such a rich vein to mine for poetry?

Emigration has been part and parcel of Maltese history for several centuries. But what I’m really interested in are spaces and how we interact with them, the way our perspective shifts according to where we are standing.

The title of this collection, ‘kantuniera ‘l boghod’, tries to convey that idea – on the one hand, you could say “it’s just round the corner” which implies that something is pretty close; on the other hand, the distance is already such that you cannot actually see what is happening on the other side.

I think Maltese life offers an interesting variety of spaces for artists to explore. Take roofs. In a country like France, people do not generally take notice of roofs except when they require fixing. In Malta, the roof is as important a space as any other room in the house: we use it to hang out our washing, it’s a place where children enjoy playing, it could be a place where neighbours have a chat or where families get together around a barbecue, some people have pigeon lofts, and the list goes on.

The same goes for the Maltese ‘parapett’ and ‘zuntier’. I probably never stopped to think about these spaces when I was still living in Malta. Trying to capture the colours, smells and textures of Malta is also very important.

The smell of soap and detergents as I walk through the streets of Cospicua, or the smell of a ‘suffarell’ at a Maltese festa are enough to conjure up a whole world of memories, just like Proust’s ‘madeleine’. There is a danger, of course, of falling into the trap of a postcard representation – but then, that’s where poetic imagery needs to take over, I guess.

What you make of the Maltese literary scene in general? What would you change about it?

I am in awe of all that’s been going on in the local literary scene in the past ten years or so. A lot of energy has been put in by writers, publishers, and non-government entities to give new impetus to Maltese literature.

Much has already been accomplished but this doesn’t mean that we can rest on our laurels. We need more people (both male and female) experimenting with novel-writing. We need more books for adolescents. We need more children’s books in Maltese, especially pop-up books and touch and feel books for babies. We need more illustrators. We need to be more inventive and adventurous in book design. We definitely need a writer’s and translator’s house that offers residencies for both local and foreign writers.

We need better equipped libraries. We need bookshops that offer more shelf space to Maltese literature, poetry included. We need libraries and bookshops that organize reading sessions, allowing readers to meet local writers.

But we also need more readers, curious and demanding ones for that matter, and there lies the rub. There is an urgent need for a massive national campaign to promote reading among young children and, even more importantly, to teach (not just encourage) parents how to read to their infants (babies and toddlers) and help them establish a daily reading routine. The younger the kids, the more fertile the ground!

What’s next for you?

I’m glad to say there are quite a few projects in the pipeline. As far as writing goes, I am currently working on a collection of short stories in Maltese that should be ready soon. I am also working on a novel in Maltese, the draft of which won the #abbozz competition organized by Merlin Publishers during last year’s National Book Fair. Hopefully the book will be out next year.

2016 will also see the publication by Gallimard of Immanuel Mifsud’s first novel, In the name of the Father (and of the Son), which I have translated into French. Other projects include the translation into French of Pierre J. Mejlak’s short stories (this project is being supported by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts’ Cultural Export Fund), and the translation of Immanuel Mifsud’s second novel, Jutta Heim.

Kantuniera ‘l bogħod is on sale at http://www.bdlbooks.com and at Agenda bookshops (University of Malta, Junior College, Republic Street Valletta)

Kummenti, Uncategorized

Antoine Cassar | Bejn/Between


Mario Azzopardi dwar Bejn/Between ta’ Antoine Cassar  | In-Nazzjon


Hemm fik dan il-kuntrast qawwi bejn in-nostalġija għal Malta ta’ nannietek u l-espansjoni kożmopolita u globali tiegħek. Diffiċli dan l-att ta’ bilanċ?

Erba’ snin ilu, qabel il-qabża mill-poeżiji multilingwi għall-espressjoni bil-Malti, dil-mistoqsija kont inweġibha billi ngħidlek li l-iktar li nħossni komdu la hu barra u lanqas ġewwa, iżda fl-għatba infinita ta’ bejniethom. Illum dan m’għadux minnu. Tul iż-żmien li kont nikkomponi l-‘mużajki’ u nintarsja kif stajt l-influwenzi tal-kulturi varji li kbirt fihom, l-ilsien Malti kien hemm il-ħin kollu jtektek fuq il-bieb, sakemm il-bieb sfrundah bil-ħlewwa. Kif tgħallimt meta vvjaġġajt bil-barżakka fl-Amerka t’Isfel u kkonfermajt fi żjara twila l-Indja, id-dawl, it-trab, l-arja mielħa ta’ raħal nannieti kont inġorrhom miegħi, sal-punt li taw aktar sens, aktar sħuħija lill-vjaġġ innifsu. Whitman beda minn Paumanok, Neruda minn Isla Negra, Tagore minn Shantiniketan… Insemmi dawn it-tliet poeti, bħallikieku figuri paterni, għax huma l-aktar tlieta li fetħuli għajnejja u li għadni qed nitgħallem mingħandhom (għax għalija jirrappreżentaw, rispettivament, is-sinċerità, is-sempliċità, u s-serenità fl-espressjoni poetika). Jien, ta’ nofs ras li jien, inzerta li bdejt mill-Qrendi.


Tuża ħażna impressjonanti ta’ kliem semitiku/arkajku. Mnejn ġej dan ir-reġistru lingwistiku u x’siwi taralu llum? 

Billi meta kont żgħir ma qattajtx iktar minn ħames snin il-Blata, il-Malti prattikament kelli nerġa’ nitgħallmu, diġà tard, ta’ 26 sena. Jekk hemm ‘arkajiżmi’ f’ċerti poeżiji ta’ Bejn, jista’ jkun għax il-Malti tgħallimtu iktar min-nanniet u mill-kotba milli fit-triq jew fil-bitħa tal-iskola (sa ċertu punt anki apposta, biex ma nispiċċax nimita l-ħafna ‘code-switching’ u d-drawwiet ħżiena tal-Malti tax-xandir). Imma naturalment, ta’ min ngħidu wkoll li dak li jinħass arkajiżmu f’widnejn dak li jkun mhux bilfors jinstema’ arkajiżmu f’widnejn ħaddieħor. Nannuwi, pereżempju, kien juża ta’ spiss il-verb ‘jiftaqad’, jiġifieri li tinżel l-għalqa biex tiċċekkja li kollox sew, jew b’mod usa’, li titkixxef jew tesplora. Aktar tard skoprejt li ħafna minn sħabi tampari dil-kelma qatt ma kienu semgħuha. Imbagħad hemm ċerti plurali miksurin li donnhom qed jintilfu. ‘Xefaq’, ngħidu aħna, safejn nista’ nifhem ma titqiesx arkajka, u jekk f’poeżija, jew anki fit-taħdit ta’ kuljum, toħroġli ‘xefaq’ flok ‘orizzont’, ma nħossx li qed inkun arkajku, u lanqas ma nħoss li qed inkun iktar jew inqas poetiku jew elokwenti; f’okkażjoni oħra, jista’ jkun li nagħżel ‘orizzont’, għar-ritmu jew għax fis-sentenza partikulari tkun iddur aħjar mal-ilsien. Il-problemi ta’ fehim jibdew meta nuża plurali bħal ‘xfieq’, ‘imwieġ’, ‘għorom’ eċċ., li b’xorti ħażina donnhom saru jfixklu l-komunikazzjoni flok iħaffuha, u jistgħu jtellfu miċ-ċarezza tas-sens tal-poeżija. Sirt konxju ħafna ta’ dan ix-xkiel, u għalhekk, f’poeżiji bħal Rota u Dalma, ma qgħadtx lura milli ndaħħal lessiku mill-aktar kontemporanju u kollokjali, kif ħassejtu jien u nikteb. 

F’ħin minnhom tirreferi għal “din it-tfulija titbissem” ġo fik.  Kemm tgħodd għalik il-frażi poeta puer

Il-vers li qed issemmi ġej mis-siltiet tal-Atlas, proġett twil li għadu għaddej, fejn niddeskrivi s-suriet tal-ixtut tal-kontinenti u tal-gżejjer u norbothom mal-istorja antika u moderna tal-popli li jgħixu fuqhom. F’din l-ekfrażi ġeografika, in-narratur jifli l-mapep bl-għajnejn ta’ tifel imsaħħar, u fl-istess ħin ta’ bniedem iktar imġarrab li tgħallem jaqra bejn il-linji u anki taħthom. L-Afrika forma ta’ qorriegħa, jew tal-qadd ta’ mara għammiela, simboli aktarx tal-antenati tagħna, imma hi wkoll forma ta’ lanġasa maqsuma minn elf sikkina iżda li xorta baqgħet sħiħa, titqadded bil-mod. U Malta, kaħlija storduta, jew baliena bħal tal-istorja ta’ Ġona… It-tikketta poeta puer, jekk tittieħed fis-sens li bih intużat pereżempju għal Pascoli (f’poeżiji bħal Bicicletta) jew Neruda (l-Odi elementali), jiġifieri bħala l-mod kif il-poeta jispjega d-dinja u jiċċelebra l-ħajja pjuttost milli bħala indikazzjoni ta’ ċertu livell ta’ maturità, ma ddejjaqni xejn. Sa ċertu punt, nemmen li biex tibqa’ kreattiv, trid tibqa’ trawwem it-tifel ta’ ġo fik, tħallih jilgħab bil-kliem, bl-ideat, bl-istħajjil. Bħala kittieb, anki jekk diġà ħriġt tliet kotba, inħoss li għadni qed nibda. Allaħares kont diġà lħaqt it-ton ta’ poeta senex, ta’ 33 sena! 

Teknikament donnu hemm ossessjoni bir-rima: x’funzjoni għandha għalik din ir-rima kważi implakabbli? 

Apparti l-ktejjeb Passaport, poeżija twila bil-Malti li fiha l-elementi minn ilsna oħra jinżammu fil-minimu meħtieġ għall-kuntest, Bejn hija l-ewwel ġabra tiegħi ta’ poeżija bil-Malti, frott ta’ erba’ snin ta’ sperimentazzjoni mingħajr wisq ippjanar jew dixxiplina. Bażikament, xtaqt nara x’inhuma l-possibbiltajiet sonori u ritmiċi tal-Malti u safejn jistgħu jaslu, mhux bħala sempliċi logħba iżda bħala veikolu ta’ espressjoni ġenwina. Għall-ewwel bdejt inħarbex ħafna ‘nonsense verse‘, u kont nikkorrispondi f’dil-forma, b’nofs ċajta, ma’ sieħbi Alex Vella Gera, li mbagħad iddedikajtlu l-ktieb. Il-Malti alliterattiv ħafna, u bdejt nara kemm din il-kwalità hi kapaċi taqdi l-effetti psikosomatiċi li nfittex fil-poeżija, jiġifieri, il-mod kif il-ħoss imżewweġ mas-sens jaqbdek, jheżżek, iħallik bla nifs u jerġa’ jimlielek il-pulmun. Xempju fundamentali ta’ dan it-tip ta’ espressjoni hu l-poeżija ta’ Achille Mizzi (Il-bosk, Identità, Déjà vu, Burraxka, Is-sess tal-fjuri… il-lista twila sew), li aktarx influwenzat il-kitba tiegħi iktar milli xtaqt. Ir-rima importanti bħala parti mir-ritmu, speċjalment meta t-test ikun maħsub biex jaqbeż minn fuq l-abjad tal-paġna għall-enerġija mleħħna ta’ fuq il-palk. Ir-rima tista’ wkoll tagħti lok għal rabtiet ‘selvaġġi’ u mhux mistennija bejn kelma u oħra, idea u oħra, bħallikieku n-natura stess tal-lingwa tikxef u tispjega enimmi tal-ħajja. Iżda obbligatorja mhijiex, u l-użu tar-rima se jiddependi dejjem mill-għan tal-poeżija li tkun. Fil-poeżiji li qed nikteb illum, f’versi twal iktar qrib it-taħdit milli r-rażan tal-linka, ir-rima qed nużaha b’mod lokali ħafna, fejn l-iktar li jkollha effett, biex tisħaq fuq kuntrast jew similitudni, tgħaġġel ir-ritmu, tissuġġerixxi ton ta’ nostalġija, u l-bqija. 

Xtaqtek tgħidli jekk temminx fid-destin “profetiku/morali” tal-awtur f’dinja fejn il-leħen tal-kuxjenza jinħass dejjem aktar mirdum. Għandi f’moħħi, pereżempju, l-indizju li tagħmel kontra l-politika lokali. L-awtur lokali għandu relevanza politika? 

It-tliet poeti li semmejt fil-bidu – Whitman, Neruda, Tagore – kitbu fi stili mbiegħda minn xulxin, iżda bħala persunaġġi u kittieba qasmu karatteristika importantissma: id-dmir politiku, jew biex inkunu iktar preċiżi, ir-responsabbiltà umana. L-Għanja tiegħi nnifsi (Song of Myself), ta’ Whitman, hija għanja fuq il-bniedem bħala speċje għalih; fl-Ode lit-tuffieħa, Neruda jixtieq jara l-popolazzjoni kollha tad-dinja tul l-ixtut tal-Mississippi, jigdmu tuffieħa; fil-Gitànġali, Tagore jkanta ż-żifna ta’ demm il-bniedem u l-“oċean-taħnina” tat-twelid u tal-mewt. Biex waslu għal espressjoni tant ġenerali u planetarja, jista’ jkun li dawn it-tliet poeti twieldu profeti, imma ma nħobbx inkun daqshekk romantiku. Fi wħud mill-poeżiji impenjati ta’ Bejn,żammejt f’livell ħafna iktar partikulari. Meta ktibt Jum ir-riflessjoni, pereżempju, kienet se tkun l-ewwel darba li nivvota f’elezzjoni nazzjonali f’Malta, u ħassejt li ma tantx kien hemm mnejn nagħżel. Kont qed nesprimi diżappunt personali rigward il-fatt li żewġ partiti mhumiex biżżejjed, fost raġunijiet oħra għax borma fuq tnejn ma toqgħodx. Jekk ikun hemm qarrejja li jidentifikaw ma’ din l-opinjoni u emozzjoni, tant l-aħjar, imma l-leħen ta’ dik il-poeżija huwa tiegħi, u l-fatt li jien poeta ma jagħtinix iktar jew inqas awtorità li nitkellem, aħseb u ara li nipprova nipperswadi. 

Wieħed minn dawk li kitbu dwarek jirreferi għall-fearful symmetries of human experience”. Mnejn jitnisslu l-ansjetajiet tiegħek? Xi jbeżżgħek? 

Jista’ jkun li b’din id-deskrizzjoni Norbert Bugeja qed jirreferi għall-mod kif nuża r-rima fl-iktar poeżiji ‘politiċi’ tal-ktieb. F’Ċomb, pereżempju, dwar l-attakki fuq il-Medda ta’ Gaża f’Jannar 2009, l-ewwel żewġ strofi huma mibnija fuq verbi-rima f’imitazzjoni tal-ftuħ ta’ The Waste Land ta’ Eliot; imbagħad, fi tmiem il-poeżija, l-alliterazzjoni “battalja battala bla tpattija tissajja: / duħħan ġo duħħan, tbajja’ fuq tbajja’” hija illustrazzjoni sonora tal-bombi mxewilħa fuq in-nies. Ir-rima tissuġġerixxi, b’mod sottili, li l-affarijiet huma kif suppost, li l-vjolenza tagħmel sens, tant li donnha ġġustifikata mil-lingwa stess; iżda dan għandu jixpruna lill-qarrej jirrofta dik ir-realtà u jirreaġixxi kontriha. Huwa proprju dan li jbeżżagħni l-iktar: l-apatija ġenerali quddiem l-inġustizzja, l-aċċettazzjoni siekta tal-qagħda tad-dinja, tal-kundizzjoni umana, bħallikieku huma kif inhuma għax inevitabbli. Nibża’ wkoll mill-fatt li l-identitajiet kollettivi jitqiesu iktar importanti mill-benessri tal-individwi li dawk l-identitajiet jittantaw jissimbolizzaw; min-nozzjoni statika tal-istat nazzjon, ‘il fuq mill-popli li tipprova tagħlaqhom fl-istess kaxxa; u llum, iktar u iktar, il-fatt li huma l-banek li qed jikkontrollaw in-nazzjonijiet u mhux, kif suppost, bil-maqlub. 

Għandek bosta kuntatti m’awturi barranin tal-ġenerazzjoni tiegħek: fejn tqiegħed il-letteratura Maltija tal-preżent meta tqabbilha mal-produzzjoni barranija? 

Vantaġġ li l-poeżija għandha fuq il-proża hu li tivvjaġġa ħafna aktar faċilment, mhux biss permezz tat-traduzzjoni, iżda fuq kollox għax tieħu l-ħajja fuq il-palk. Fl-aħħar ftit snin irċevejt ħafna stediniet biex nippreżenta l-poeżija tiegħi fl-Ewropa u fl-Ażja, l-iktar b’riħet il-Passaport, u kelli x-xorti niltaqa’ ma’ bosta awturi tampari u ikbar minni. L-editorjal tal-aħħar ħarġa ta’ Transcript Review, iddedikata lil-letteratura kontemporanja ta’ Malta, jiffoka fuq dik id-dikotomija dejjiema bejn iċ-ċentri u l-periferiji, u l-fatt li bħala entità relattivament ċkejkna, il-kultura Maltija ma tistax ma ssibx ruħha titħabat fuq il-marġni. Naqbel, imma jista’ jkun li permezz tal-internet, tat-traduzzjoni, ta’ dak li Goethe kien sejjaħlu l-Weltverkehr (‘it-traffiku tad-dinja’, fis-sens li l-bniedem u kulma jirrappreżenta qed isiru dejjem iktar mobbli), il-linji bejn iċ-ċentri u l-periferiji qed jiċċajpru, u dan fenomenu għalkollox pożittiv, fiż-żewġ direzzjonijiet. Ta’ Malta jħabbatha ma’ ta’ barra, u ta’ barra jħabbatha ma’ ta’ Malta. Madankollu, meta awtur Malti joħroġ barra jippreżenta xogħlu, irid jegħleb xkiel inevitabbli: li s-semmiegħa ma jinteressawx ruħhom f’xogħlu biss minħabba n-natura u l-ħsejjes, għalihom eżotiċi, tal-ilsien Malti bħala amalgama Għarbija-Taljana, mitkellma fuq erba’ ċagħkiet fin-nofsinhar tat-tramuntana, fl-Ewropa iżda kważi kważi fl-Afrika. Kemm awturi Maltin qabżu b’suċċess dak il-pass u rnexxielhom jwasslu s-sens u mhux biss il-ħoss, nistqarr li ma nafx. L-awturi barranin li niltaqa’ magħhom ġieli jsemmuli l-poeżija ta’ Immanuel Mifsud, u dan qabel ma ngħata l-premju letterarju tal-UE, u minkejja li ħafna mill-poeżiji tiegħu għadhom lanqas biss dehru f’Malta. Barra minn hekk, kulma nista’ ngħid hu li meta kont fil-festival ta’ Struga, il-Maċedonja, is-sajf li għadda, il-poeta veteran Mateja Matevski, u anki xi membri tal-udjenza, qaluli li kienu għadhom jiftakru f’Oliver Friggieri, xi għoxrin sena wara li kien mistieden fl-istess festival. Friggieri jsemmi l-festival ta’ Struga fl-aħħar paġni tal-awtobijografija tiegħu, u mid-dehra, ħalla impatt.

22 ta’ Settembru 2012 


Kotba, Kummenti, Uncategorized

Antoine Cassar | Mużajk, poeżija multilingwi

21 ta’ Settembru 2012

Mużajk is an exploration in multilingual verse, a work in progress braiding together the sounds and cadences of different tongues into a fluid rhythm and a coherent stream of thought. 

Written mainly in a blend of English, French, Italian, Maltese and Spanish (in no particular order), and later sowing in other languages according to the subject, the mużajki or mosaics journey through a variety of themes, among them the pleasure and futility of living, love unrequited or fulfilled, the beauty of the Mediterranean, the desire for simplicity in an ever-increasingly complicated lifestyle, the absurdity of colonialism and its after-effects, and the at once exhilarating and disorienting feeling of variety itself.

The fifteen mosaics selected for this book show the swift evolution of an at once serious and ludic experiment into a genuine medium for personal, philosophical and planetary expression, allowing the nomadic poet to comfortably listen and respond to voices in different tongues without the pressing need to translate all thoughts, ideas and emotions into a single language.

Mużajk is published by Edizzjoni Skarta, on the occasion of two poetry readings in Sannicandro di Bari (as part of an artistic project directed by Italo-Palestinian musical duo Radiodervish) and in Lecce, Italy. The cover illustration, Gonbidapena, is by international calligrapher Massimo Polello. The book contains a detailed introduction to the Mużajk project, and all poems are accompanied by a translation in English.

Born in London to Maltese parents in 1978, Antoine Cassar grew up and studied between England, Malta, Spain, Italy and France. He is currently completing a doctoral thesis on the origins of the Spanish sonnet. He lives in Luxembourg, where he works as a translator. The first series of Cassar’smużajki or mosaics appeared in the Maltese anthology Ħbula stirati (Tightropes) in July 2007. A handful of mosaics have also appeared in publications in Italy (Nuovi Argomenti, Absolute Poetry), Kuwait (The Daily Star), Australia (The Chimaera) and the U.S. (The Drunken Boat, Other Voices). In May 2008, Cassar performed at the Biennale des Jeunes Créateurs de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée in Puglia, Italy. In October 2008 he was awarded a ‘Segnalazione’ in the international Premio Nosside. Cassar is due to be a guest at the Leipzig Book Fair in March 2009.

For more information, or to listen to a selection of poems, visit http://muzajk.info.

A fascinating experiment.

Language Hat 

It seems pretty clear that ‘globalization’ is our destiny, for better and for worse. And Antoine Cassar’s mosaics are the best possible poetic expression of that, of a world in which we speak and understand each other’s languages – or at least try to. These multi-lingual tours of force are musical and smart, full of viscera and heart.

Moira Egan


Ikolli ngħid li f’daċ-ċirklu Cassar mhux biss is-saltimbank li jimxi fuq il-ħabel, imma l-prestiġjatur li jilgħab bil-kliem, qisu qed jilgħab bil-blalen fl-arja bla ma jwaqqa’ mank wieħed.

Achille Mizzi

L’oralità arcaica torna a risuonare nella parola in tempi di comunicazione tecnologica. Il poeta maltese Antoine Cassar si riappropia delle forme della lirica originaria, come il sonetto, in un mosaico di lingue, remote e prossime, capace di annodare l’umanità dialogante. Una performance metrico-vocale avvincente e suggestiva.

Enzo Mansueto

Mużajk echoes the bitter sweet nostalgias of a lost island paradise and the painful and at times hectic delusions of a Europe that is no more the cultural stereotype we know, but a strange amalgam of people trying to conform to a new commonality brought about by rampant globalisation.

This book is a scintillating tapestry of multilingual musings penned by a man striving to express the indefinable… an islander who is basically a cosmopolitan – a European at heart. The brilliant cover design by Italian calligrapher Massimo Polello could not have escaped the attention of “those who breathe within, between and among languages”.

Even though the words come gushing out in a stream that oftentimes seems oddly contrived due to the diversity of the languages used yet, somehow, it manages to achieve cohesion – even melodically, through its being confined to the strictures of the sonnet form.

The very evident existential angst can be interpreted as the animating motif behind much of this poetry. This explains why some of the poems deal with the poet’s quest to be catador de amores and end up being disappointed by the post-coital void. Inherent in this melancholia, I am sure, there is a vibrant forma mentis, a spiritual quest that is trying to find a philosophic core that is more solid, more satisfying than the transient moods of youth. ’Żda le, yo viviré. One day, perhaps, I’ll learn.

By pursuing this road, I would venture to say, the poet would surpass himself in producing a more mature and integral oeuvre that would vie with the best in modern European literature.

Achille Mizzi

A unique accomplishment, and seen from Italy (in this horrible moment of fascism and racism, and disregard for constitutional rights, and so on) it looks not only as the strong aesthetic statement that it certainly is, but also as a political, and even humanitarian statement: “no man is an island” somebody said, and Cassar’s mixture of idioms to me represents just that – the bright side of existence, complex, ethically rooted, diverse and funny, and also moving.

Damiano Abeni





Kotba, Kummenti, Uncategorized

Adrian Grima | Ħożż fl-Ilma

Ħożż fl-ilma il-kotba, il-qari u l-baħar. Studju ta’ Adrian Grima 

L-istatistika titkellem ċar: il-Maltin huma l-inqas nies li jaqraw fl-Unjoni Ewropea, u l-mediterranji jaqraw inqas min-nordiċi. Għalhekk hemm min iqis il-klima bħala l-akbar għadu tal-qari f’Malta. Imma kieku ma kellniex sema ċelesti u baħar blu konna naqraw iżjed? Aħna naqraw ftit u l-klima tkompli tneħħilna l-aptit: x’suppost nagħmlu? Inħallu l-baħar iħabbat? Nittantaw ix-xemx għaddejja? Nieħdu ktieb magħna ħdejn il-baħar kif irid il-Kunsill tal-Ktieb? U jekk jixxarrab, jew jitbewwaq?

Tista’ toħloq kultura ta’ qari jew “kollox tort tal-edukazzjoni” u d-destin tagħna diġà miktub, qisu ktieb? Pajjiżi oħra x’qed jagħmlu? Il-mezzi tax-xandir tagħhom jippromwovu l-kotba? It-teknoloġija u l-internet itellfu biss? Fi Franza l-qari fost il-kbar qed jiżdied, u miegħu x-xiri u s-self tal-kotba mil-libreriji. Imma l-Franċiżi kburin li jħobbu l-kotba. Aħna ma nħobbuhomx? Trabbejna f’kultura li tibża’ mill-kotba, minn dak li hu differenti u ġdid? Trabbejna f’kultura li flok tisfida, tiddefendi l-ordni stabbilit?

Ara l-artiklu “Il-Qari f’Ħaż-Żgħir” li deher fil-gazzetta Illum (14.12.08)

Dr. Adrian Grima huwa kittieb, attivist kulturali u lecturer tal-letteratura Maltija fl-Università ta’ Malta.

Mill-ewwel taqsima tal-ktieb: 

Il-Maltin huma l-inqas li jaqraw fil-ħin liberu tagħhom fl-Unjoni Ewropea, u l-mediterranji, b’mod ġenerali, jaqraw inqas min-nordiċi. F’konferenza dwar il-qari li organizza l-Kunsill Nazzjonali tal-Ktieb f’Marzu tal-2008 wara li ħareġ dan ir-riżultat negattiv, kien hemm kelliema b’esperjenza f’bosta oqsma, bħall-pubblikazzjoni u l-edukazzjoni, li qalu li dan in-nuqqas ta’ qari għandu x’jaqsam mal-istil tal-ħajja tagħna, mal-klima, mal-importanza li nagħtu lis-soċjalizzazzjoni, lill-baħar u lis-sema blu. Kien hemm ukoll min esprima dubju li n-numri xejn sbieħ dwar il-qari f’Malta jistgħu jkunu żbaljati (dawn l-Ewropej x’jafu dwar il-qari f’Malta?) u li fil-fatt il-Maltin minn 15-il sena ’l fuq jaqraw iżjed milli tissuġġerixxi l-istatistika tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea li qegħditna fil-qiegħ nett.

Il-fenomenu tal-qari huwa kumpless għax huwa marbut ma’ bosta oqsma, bħall-edukazzjoni u l-influwenza tal-mezzi tal-komunikazzjoni, bħad-divertiment u l-kultura, u għalhekk jitlob analiżi lajka li għandha tibda mill-klassifika li għandna quddiemna, u mill-fatt, sagrosant, li pajjiżna, għall-kuntrarju tal-biċċa l-kbira tal-pajjiżi tal-Unjoni Ewropea li jinvestu l-enerġija u r-riżorsi tagħhom fit-tixrid tal-qari u tal-kotba, mhu jagħmel xejn biex ikattar il-qari u l-kultura tal-qari fost il-kbar.

F’dawn l-aħħar sjuf, il-Kunsill Nazzjonali tal-Ktieb, bir-riżorsi limitati li ngħatawlu, mexxa inizjattiva medjatika żgħira biex il-Maltin jieħdu ktieb magħhom ħdejn il-baħar. M’għandix dubju li din l-inizjattiva ħalliet l-effett pożittiv tagħha, imma biex tkun tassew effettiva nafu li inizjattiva bħal din trid tkun parti minn strateġija nazzjonali komprensiva li jkollha l-appoġġ sħiħ tal-klassi politika li s’issa, fil-biċċa l-kbira tagħha, kienet għal kollox indifferenti lejn din il-problema, u tinvolvi oqsma differenti tal-ħajja Maltija, fosthom, fuq quddiem nett, il-mezzi tax-xandir u dawk li jħobbu l-kotba u l-letteratura. Ma saret ebda kampanja qawwija ta’ din ix-xorta u r-raġuni jkollha tkun li l-politiċi u l-amministraturi ta’ pajjiżna ma jqisux il-kura ta’ dan il-marda kronika bħala prijorità.

Forsi – u din hija interpretazzjoni iktar imqarba jew malizzjuża – bħan-nies tal-poter fir-raħal metaforiku ta’ Ħaż-Żgħir ta’ Ġużè Ellul Mercer, f’ċerti kurituri tal-poter f’oqsma differenti tas-soċjetà Maltija, mill-politika sal-Knisja, mill-mezzi tax-xandir sal-kultura, hemm min ma jridx li l-kotba jċaqilqu l-ilmijiet qiegħda. Din aktarx hija interpretazzjoni ideoloġika anakronistika, waħda li ma rridux nikkunsidraw… Jibqa’ l-fatt li meta t-tfal jaraw stazzjon nazzjonali tat-televiżjoni sajjem għal kollox minn riferimenti għall-kontenut maħsub tal-kotba fil-programmi għall-kbar; meta jisimgħu lill-“idoli” tagħhom fid-divertiment, fl-isports, fil-kultura, u fil-politika jitnebbħu minn kollox ħlief mill-kotba, dan iħarbat ix-xogħol tajjeb li qed isir f’ħafna skejjel primarji biex it-tfal ifittxu dejjem iżjed l-esperjenza tal-qari u s-seħer l-kotba. Jibqa’ l-fatt ukoll li b’dan il-mod kollox jibqa’ l-istess.

Bosta pajjiżi Mediterranji u Ewropej qed jaħdmu biex jippromwovu l-qari u l-letteratura tagħhom u dawn l-inizjattivi jagħtu ħjiel ta’ dak li nistgħu nagħmlu aħna wkoll. Hawnhekk nixtieq nipproponi għadd ta’ inizjattivi li, iktar minn investiment konsiderevoli ta’ flus, jitolbu att ta’ fidi fil-kotba u fil-kontribut li kapaċi jagħti l-qari lill-kwalità tal-ħajja u l-futur tal-individwi u ta’ komunità sħiħa.





Kotba, Uncategorized

Tnieda l-ktieb il-ġdid ta’ poeżiji bil-Malti (bi traduzzjonijiet għall-Ingliż) ta’ Claudia Gauci, Sekonda Qabel Tqum. Jinbiegħ mingħand Claudia Gauci.


Il-poeżija intima u metaforika ta’ Claudia Gauci tinnegozja kontinwament mal-memorja: mhux biss terfa’ x-xeni mit-tfulija tagħha biex tippreserva u tikkultiva l-mumenti ma’ missierha iżda anki tqanqal jew toħloq konxjament memorji inqas feliċi biex bħallikieku tissaffa minn esperjenzi li weġġgħuha profondament. Il-memorja individwali u kollettiva, kif jgħid Umberto Eco, għandha l-funzjoni li tippreserva ċerta informazzjoni imma fl-istess ħin twarrab dik l-informazzjoni li ma neħtiġux u li kapaċi xxekklilna moħħna. Claudia Gauci ma tużax il-memorja, il-poeżija, biex tikkanċella dak li ma jogħġobhiex: tużaha biex tiffaċċja l-istorja li tiffurmaha, biex tibni fuqha.

Adrian Grima


Claudia Gauci | Sekonda Qabel Tqum

Kotba, Uncategorized

Skariġġi (Versatili/Edizzjoni Skarta, 2012), ktieb editjat minn Kit Azzopardi, jiġbor fih għaxar novelli minn awturi stabbiliti u oħrajn li għadhom fil-bidu tagħhom. L-awturi huma: Kit Azzopardi, Berislav Blagojevic, Keith Borg, Priscilla Cassar, Claudia Gauci, Adrian Grima, Jacob Piccinino, Leli, Rita Saliba, u Ġużè Stagno.


“Il-letteratura hi proġett mhux mitmum: ma jistax ikun mod ieħor la tfittex li toħloq lilha nfisha mill-ġdid mid-djalogi li jinbtu bejn xogħol u ieħor. Bħall-oqsma kollha tal-arti, hi sengħa tal-mhux magħruf: hi d-djalogu bejn dak li nafu u dak li ma nafux, id-djalogu bejn il-kultura materjali u kontemporanja ma’ dak li “jista’ jkun.” Għaldaqstant, filwaqt li ma tistax tinqata’ mit-tradizzjoni (imqar jekk tradizzjoni riċenti ħafna), tipprova tipprojetta lilha nfisha fi spazji ġodda. Fil-falliment tal-lingwa sabiex tilħaq spazji għalkollox ġodda, hemm il-ħolqien ta’ lingwa aktar friska.”

(silta mid-daħla għall-antoloġija)


New voices for new pages | Skariggi

Despite the short story being notoriously difficult to sell as a genre worldwide, against all odds the local independent press Skarta is launching an eclectic collection of short tales on June 24 at The Manoel Theatre. 

19 June 2012 | Teodor Reljic

Skariggi will feature short fiction by both up-and-coming and established writers like Guze Stagno and Adrian Grima. 

Edited by Kit Azzopardi, Skariggi will bring together a number of established local writers – among them Guze Stagno and Adrian Grima – while also serving as a launching pad for up-and-coming writers. 

The anthology, which was gradually shaped during creative writing seminars among the Poezijaplus group, will also feature a story from the award-winning Bosnian author Berislav Blagojevic, and through his contribution – translated into Maltese for the first time – the anthology “aims at intercultural dialogue”. 

“The subject matter of the short stories varies from vows with the devil, to an obsession with an apparently innocent name. The styles are equally varied, with one playing around with the story’s chronology, another being of an investigative nature, such as Adrian Grima’s excellently written and well researched story. The starting point was to bring together established and up-and-coming writers, so that different generations of authors would be given an opportunity to work together,” Azzopardi said.

Speaking of his involvement in the anthology, Blagojevic said that he was “honoured” to be given the opportunity to participate in the anthology. “I was very excited when Kit sent me summaries for the stories which will be featured in the anthology as they are very diverse in style and approach. That gives me hope that my story will find its place in the anthology,” Blagojevic said, while agreeing with the idea that his contribution is a marker of the anthology’s desire to create dialogue between Bosnia and Malta. 

“I think it might be quite interesting for readers to learn about interests, main writing topics, preoccupations, point of view, or writing style of authors from other countries,” Blagojevic said. As an example, he mentioned having the possibility of reading a short story by Gozitan-born author Pierre J. Mejlak in Serbian after it was published in a Serbian literary journal. 

“This way, readers all over the Balkans have the opportunity to enjoy reading author from Malta. Perhaps my participation in this anthology is a good occasion to give something back. From Balkans with love!” 

Speaking about the Maltese publishing industry, in light of being the editor of an independent anthology, Azzopardi said that the local publishing industry still lacks “two essential cogwheels: professional editors and critics”. 

“Those taking up editorial work and publishing critiques are either authors themselves or an author’s friend, which rarely allows for a serious discussion on what is being produced. As regards readers, we’re also lacking, mostly due to an educational system which does not encourage creative thinking.” 

Skariggi will be launched at the Manoel Theatre, 19:30. The collection is being financed by the Malta Arts’ Fund, The President’s Award for Creativity, River Dreams Ltd, and the Ministry of Education. For more information log on to www.skarta.org or join the group ‘Versatili’ on Facebook.


Novelli | Skariġġi