Photo of Simone Inguanez by: Thomas Langdon / vsg
Rights to all photos reserved.
Fall/Winter: Maltese Poetry
Edited by Maria Grech Ganado
Norbert Bugeja 's writing articulates the many facets of contemporary Mediterranean living, seeking new possibilities of literary expression in the process. His poetry has been published in various international and Maltese anthologies and journals, and aired on radio and TV stations. His new collection of poems, Cities, will be published towards the end of 2007. Norbert graduated with first class honours in English from the University of Malta in 2002 and read for a Masters degree with distinction in 2005. This year he has been selected as a Commonwealth scholar and is currently preparing his doctoral research in English literature and critical theory at the University of Warwick, UK.
Writing and Life are synonymous for Lino Buhagiar who was born on 17 February, 1967, and who decided, at the age of twelve, that he was a writer and has never deviated from this conviction. He has given his life to his talent and following his graduation as Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Malta, went on to graduate with a Master's Degree in Writing from Bretton Hall, College of the University of Leeds in the UK. Speaking to Lino brings to mind the words of Isaac Asimov: I write for the same reason I breathe because if I didn't I would die. His passion for writing includes poetry and long and short fiction and some of his work has been published in the UK. To experience his writing is to be assimilated into a world he has created, to live it and leave it with an altered awareness. (Diana Abela) Lino's first collection of poetry Particles of Fate was published in interaction with the photography of John Grech in 2006.
Born in London to Maltese parents in 1978, Antoine Cassar was brought up and educated in England, Malta, Italy and Spain. He is currently completing a PhD thesis on the origins of the Spanish sonnet. He now lives in Luxembourg, where he works as a translator. In his work, Mużajk is an experiment in multilingual verse, an attempt to combine the sounds of different languages into a single rhythm and a single thought. Written in a blend of English, French, Italian, Maltese and Spanish (in no particular order), but occasionally also including phrases from other languages, the mużajki or mosaics endeavour to explore the possibilities of playing around with the syllables and cadences, literary references and motifs of different tongues. The successful interaction of the various elements will depend on how well the seemingly multiple voices are gelled into one by the rhythm and logic of the poem. The rigid but versatile form of the sonnet, together with the flexible verse of the alexandrine, aim to help achieve a tightly-knit structure of a musical and perhaps even natural-sounding quality. Solitude and the joy of being plural, the pleasure and futility of living, love unrequited or unfulfilling, desire for simplicity in an ever-increasingly complicated world, the beauty of the Mediterranean, and the existential compulsion to write, are among the themes dealt with by the mużajki. More so than to be read, the mużajki are designed to be heard. They may be seen as a humble manifesto in favour of continuing to bring performance back into poetry, whilst taking unity in diversity another little step forward, towards a literature which is at once local and supranational.
Priscilla Cassar graduated as a Speech Language Pathologist and furthered her studies obtaining a post-graduate diploma in Gerontology and Geriatrics. After nine years working within the health sector, mainly in a rehabilitation hospital for the elderly, she spent a year learning German in Germany and another year practising her profession while working in an acute hospital in Dublin. Although she did not particularly like poetry at school, she rediscovered its pleasure at University and has been hooked on it since. She joined INIZJAMED (www.inizjamed.org) and continued experimenting with writing poetry and attending courses, workshops, seminars etc. To date she has only had poems published in F'Kull Belt Hemm Kantuniera (2003); La Vuelta al Mundo en un Poema (2003); Klandestini. Emerging Mediterranean Writers (2004); Ktieb ghall-Hruq (2005); Il-Malti. Rivista ta' L-Akkademja Tal-Malti (2005). While trying to create a balance between her interest in the sciences and her passion in the arts, she is currently discerning where to go next in life.
Maria Grech Ganado, (b. 1943), poet, translator, critic, studied English at the Universities of Malta, Cambridge and Heidelberg. She was the first Maltese female Full-Time Lecturer at the University of Malta (Department of English), has published three collections of Maltese poetry (the first of which won a National Book Prize in 2002) and two of English (the second of which won a National Book Prize in 2006). Her poetry in both languages has been translated into Italian, French, German, Greek, Spanish, Lithuanian, Finnish, Czech and Catalan . It has appeared in English in the UK, the USA, Australia. South Africa and Cyprus. She has been invited to many literary events abroad. Maria has also translated into English much of the contemporary poetry and prose written by Maltese writers today. In 2000, she received the MQR - Midalja ghall-Qadi tar-Repubblika (Medal for Service to the Republic). She has three children and one grandson.
Claudia Gauci was born on the 25th September 1976. She graduated from the University of Malta in 1997 with a B.A. (Gen) in Maltese and French. She joined the NGO Inizjamed in 2002 and participated in many workshops with diverse writers, both national and international. Her work has been published in F'Kull Belt hemm Kantuniera (Every City has a CornerInizjamed, 2003) and Ktieb ghall-Hruq (A Book to be Burnt Inizjamed, 2005). She has also participated in various projects, amongst them Borders (2003), the Biennial Un Anno di Passione (Naples, 2005) and Steps (2006). She is currently working as Project Manager for a translation company and is also attending a course in proof-reading in Maltese.
Sergio Grech was born in October 1975. He was one of the Poezijaplus' founders. Poezijaplus promotes literature in Malta. Sergio regularly presents cultural programmes on the state's radio station and the local university radio. He is employed as a regular teacher with the Education Division and is presently the National Book Council's Public Relations Officer. He is the author of the biography Patri Felicjan Bilocca Hajtu u Zminijietu Father Felicjan Bilocca His Life and Times). He is also one of the editors of www.maltapoetry.com. Sergio is currently reading for a Master of Arts degree in History.
Adrian Grima (Malta, 1968) lectures in Maltese Literature at the University of Malta. He has read papers on literature, culture and the Mediterranean at conferences in the Mediterranean, Europe and the USA. His academic articles have been published in various countries and he contributes to Babelmed.net, Counterpunch and ZNET. He is the coordinator of the Mediterranean cultural organization Inizjamed, which he co-founded in 1998. and the Head of the Technical Committee for Literature within the National Council for the Maltese Language. Adrian Grima has published two collections of poetry in Maltese, It-Trumbettier (The Trumpeter, 1999) and Rakkmu (Weavings, Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2006). His poems have appeared in translation in various publications, including the collections The Tragedy of the Elephant (Midsea Books and Inizjamed, 2005) and Dieser verwundete Frühling Dir-Rebbiegħa Midruba (Edizzjoni Skarta, 2007). Dr. Grima has edited various collections of recent Maltese literature, including a series of six books of Contemporary Maltese Literature in Translation. His introduction to Maltese poetry is in this issue. His website is www.adriangrima.com.
Cali (Carmel) Grima was born in Valletta, is in his thirties and is a Piscean and that is all I know about his birth. I know though that he has had hardly any formal schooling and spends every spare hour he can in the Valletta library avidly reading in Maltese, Italian or English whatever he finds interesting. His spare hours also cover occasional unemployment, an intense love/hate relationship with life in general, especially the sea, beer and women. He doesn't actually write poetry consciously his emails, even his speech, emerge as the lines he or his friends extract from his normal intense form of communication, in which spelling plays no part at all. Images, rhythm, an irrepressible energy and force are the hallmarks of being Cali Grima and the language he employs his only qualification. I have for it the highest respect and perhaps even a bit of envy (Maria Grech Ganado).
Simone Inguanez (1971) Published two collections of poetry: Water, Fire, Earth, and I (Translated by Maria Grech Ganado, Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2005) and Ftit Mara Ftit Tifla 'Part Woman Part Child', (Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2005). She has also been represented in a number of anthologies and publications, and some of her works were set to music. Some of her poetry is available in English, Italian, French, Hungarian, Russian and Finnish. Inguanez holds a degree in Law from the University of Malta and a certificate in Proofreading from the same university. She has worked on various project as a revisor and translator. This year, Inguanez was Malta’s writer in residency for the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, courtesy of the US Embassy in Malta. She was also featured as the poet representing Malta in the Recital dei Poeti del Mediterraneo held annually in Lecce, Italy. In 2005, Inguanez participated in the XII BJCEM biennale dei giovani artisti dell’europa e del mediterraneo Un anno di passione. In 2004, she participated in the 7th edition of the Voix de la Méditerranée held annually in Lodéve, courtesy of the French Embassy in Malta. Inguanez's work has been described as highly idiosyncratic, especially in her use of rhythm and tone. Her early work is mainly an exploration of her intense inner self, minutely analysing its interaction with what or whom she experiences. Her new work seems to be directed outward, focusing more on what she encounters and finding patterns in it which often border on the metaphysical. In both cases, her syntax surprises with its experimental musicality and her tone can just as suddenly switch pitch. The condensation achieved through this approach to words is skilfully controlled by a harmonious blending which is both pleasing and delightful.
Roderick Mallia (1982) is a medical science graduate currently reading for doctor of medicine and surgery at the University of Malta. Roderick has been working within Inizjamed since 2005, and has published poetry in the collection Ktieb għall-Ħruq as well as in local newspapers. In summer 2006, he was invited to represent Malta in the Voix de la Méditerranée poetry festival in Lodéve, France. Roderick's main interests lie in the arts and since he is also a musician and painter, he is very interested in the marriage between different forms of art and new, innovative ways of expression.
Immanuel Mifsud was born in Malta in 1967. He has published five poetry collections, including a collection of travel poems, KM (Malta: Klabb Kotba Maltin: 2005) in bi-lingual edition with translations by Maria Grech Ganado and Confidential Reports (Ireland: Southword Editions, 2005) with translations by Maurice Riordan and Adrian Grima. He has also published five collections of short stories, including L-Istejjer Strambi ta' Sara Sue Sammut (Sara Sue Sammut's Strange Stories) which won the national literary award for 2002, and the highly controversial Kimika (Chemistry).
Abigail A. Zammit was born in Malta in 1976 but moved to England in September 2004 in order to follow a Masters degree in Creative Writing. Before that, she graduated from the University of Malta, obtaining a B.A.(Honors) in English, a P.G.C.E. and a Masters degree in English literature and subsequently taught English for three years at a Junior Lyceum for boys. After terminating her Masters in Creative Writing, Abigail taught GCSE and A level English at Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College and in November 2005 she attended a creative writing course organized by Writing Ventures. She then carried out publishing work experience with Icon Books, Sweet and Maxwell, Ebury and Traveller Magazine. Last July she returned to Malta and is now assistant-lecturer at G.F. Abela Junior College as well as part-time piano accompanist. Abigail has had poems published by Orbis and Libertine magazines and has won third prize in a local poetry competition as well as a Lancaster Poetry Slam. She was chosen as feature poet for the online November 2006 issue of Poet's Letter. Abigail has also written articles and short stories for an alternative magazine entitled Manic. Her first collection of poems, Voices from the Land of Trees, was published by Smokestack in June 2007. The subject is Guatemala where Abigail spent six weeks in the summer of 2003 the poems speak in various voices and tackle the complexities and moral ambiguities of poverty, civil war and missionary work in the land of the Mayas. Her other poetry varies enormously in style and content, ranging from the personal and lyrical to the spiritual and political. Although she is bi-lingual, Abigail has so far written only in English.