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Tugs in the Fog

Joan Margarit

Born in Catalonia in 1938, and all his life a practising architect, Joan Margarit is a Catalan language poet and also, arguably, Spainís most widely acclaimed poet.

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.

In 2008 he received the Premio Nacional de Poesia del Estado Español, Spainís highest literary award for non-Castilian writers, for his collection, Casa de Misericòrdia, as well as the Premi Nacional de Literatura de la Generalitat de Catalunya.

Information about Joan Margarit is available via the Links page.

Comments on Tugs in the Fog

'I highly recommend the luminous, subtle Tugs in the Fog by the Catalan poet Joan Margarit, translated by Anna Crowe. The Spanish Civil War and its after effects, and the death of his handicapped daughter haunt poems which are nevertheless full of life'
—Moniza Alvi, Poetry News

ĎThe language of Margarit's poetry is direct and simple, and is characterised by a concision and exactness. The beauty of his work comes from its simplicity, but also from its rawness and harshness, especially when he is writing about loss. A master craftsman, Margarit is also an architect of the emotions... In her accomplished translations, Anna Crowe recreates the sonorous intensity of the originals, and brings Margarit's work to new readersí
—Turo Delgado, Edinburgh Review

Strangely Happy

This second collection of translations, containing poems from Casa de Misericòrdia (Proa 2007) and Misteriosament feliç (Proa 2008), will appear from Bloodaxe in 2011.

Readers who relished Tugs in the fog for its courage and humanity will find Joan Margarit continuing to build an architecture of the human spirit out of the unpromising materials of self-doubt, despair and death. In writing stripped of all inessentials, and in the company of his dead, Joan Margarit confronts old age and his own death in poems that go on moving us with their harsh, poignant music.


Anna Crowe
October 2010
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