Joan Margarit, the architect of bilingual verses: "I am a Catalan poet but also Castilian, pussy"

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Poet of "honest intensity", of free words that sound in Spanish and Catalan, that's right Joan Margarit, a training architect who has won the Cervantes Prize 2019. A writer who has built verse castles from which he has transmitted his thought, life and ethics in poems turned into odes to the beauty of human relationships.

A poet who has been characterized by his Catalan public defense, "the only language or one of the few educated languages ​​without a State" that exist, as he pointed out just ten days ago when depositing his legacy in the Caja de las Letras of the Instituto Cervantes.

"I am a Catalan poet but also Spanish, pussy ", Margarit indicated, after remembering that the dictatorship imposed the Castilian "to kicks". But "I will not return it now," he added.

This thorough writer, who it takes months to finish his poems, he began writing in Spanish, but from 1981 he began publishing only in Catalan and from the end of the 90s until today both languages ​​simultaneously.

He started writing in Spanish, from 1981 he published only in Catalan and since the 90s both languages ​​simultaneously

And he did it already in his maturity because, he says, he does not know a single poet in the history of mankind who has written in a language other than mother tongue; and his is Catalan, "but then there are poems that arise in Spanish, but they are never a translation."

A bilingualism that has turned him in the most read live poet, and also one of the most awarded because also this year, seven months before being awarded the Cervantes, he also won the Reina Sofía Prize for Ibero-American Poetry, the most important poetry award in Spanish and Portuguese.

"Hall of truth"

For Margarit (Sanaüja, Lleida, 1938) the beauty is the "prelude to the truth", a statement that becomes certain when reading his poems, those that become minute and accurate" tools "to enter the retina and dig into the heart to make a cure in the face of day-to-day chaos.

That is why he has always been in favor of never stop working, "to go to the fundamental, to flee from the rude, the phrases made", and that is why it has never been hidden when the Catalan conflict comes out in the conversation, where it is one of the few voices that brings out the word culture as curative medicine

This was demonstrated in his poems, A fascinating hivern (2017), where he opted in this conflict for "intelligence" and "self-criticism" and where he is "distrustful of the manipulation of the masses". That's why he uses the "lyrical beauty of its Catalan language", as he says, to warn of the risks of the topics that politicians use for their own interests.

"If a politician talks to you about course, watch the wallet"

"If a politician talks to you about course, watch the wallet, and the best course or future is one of those topics with which people in their youth are easily manipulated, because the topics are paths that people go through, "he said during the presentation of this work.

With his 81 years, more than eight decades that make him one of the most veteran in the list of winners of Cervantes, his poetry could be summed up in three words – at the risk of falling short -: beauty, truth and culture. Three concepts that he defends because the rest "are stories".

"You can go see a football game and be there two hours excited, but you will forget it after a while, while an exhibition of a good expressionist painter, a Beethoven sonata or a good poem always stays inside, "he says.

Margarit became known in Spain in 1963 with the book Chronicle and throughout his career he has combined his work as a poet with that of Professor of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

The newly awarded Cervantes has received numerous awards, including the National Poetry Prize in 2008 and the Rosalía de Castro Prize, as well as the Jaume Fuster in 2016.

In Chile he also obtained the Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Poetry Award in 2017, and in Mexico, Víctor Sandoval de Poetas del Mundo Latino in 2013, among others.



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