oan Margarit is one of Spain's major modern writers. Born in 1938, he worked as an architect and first published his work in Spanish, but for the past three decades has become known for his mastery of the Catalan language, and is now, arguably, Spain's most widely acclaimed contemporary poet. The melancholy and candour of his poetry show his affinity with Thomas Hardy, whose work he has translated. In the much praised "Tugs in the Fog: Selected Poems" (Bloodaxe Books, 2006), Joan Margarit evoked 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, reminding us that it is not death we have to understand but life. Now in the more recent work translated in "Strangely Happy", he builds 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. His poetry confronts the worst that life can throw at us, yet what lingers in the mind is its warmth and humanity.
"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. "Wow! - Erotic closeness, distance, passion, jealousy, indifference, night, death, imagination, apocalypse, and more all in a few lines and a few simple words - His themes [are] delivered with such fire and candour they inspirit" - Herbert Lomas, Ambit
Joan Margarit was born in 1938 in Sanauja, La Segarra region, in Catalonia. He is an architect, and from 1968 until his retirement was also Professor of Structural Calculations at Barcelona's Technical School of Architecture. He first published poetry in Spanish, in 1963 and 1965, but after a silence of ten years switched to writing and publishing in Catalan. From 1980 he began to establish his reputation as a leading Catalan poet. As well as publishing many collections in Catalan, he has translated most of his own books into Spanish. Tugs in the Fog: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2006), the first translation into English of his Catalan poetry, was a Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation. Strangely Happy, a selection of his later poems, also translated by Anna Crowe, is published by Bloodaxe in 2011.