VERS | Malta International Poetry Festival 2004

Ara l-Memorandum dwar il-Poeżija aktar ‘l isfel

Organized by The Malta Council for Culture and the Arts

Tuesday 14 – Thursday 16 September 2004

All readings at 8.00pm at St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity


Adrian Grima and leading Croatian writer Tonko Maroević (in picture) will be reading their poetry at the VERS Malta International Poetry Festival 2004 on Wednesday 15 September at 8.00pm at the St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity in Valletta.

vers_poster_small1The VERS festival starts on Tuesday 14 with readings by Maria Grech Ganado (Malta) and the Catalan poet Vinyet Panyella, and ends on Thursday 16 with readings by Victor Fenech (Malta) and Paola Turroni (Italy). All poetry events start at 8.00pm.

Adrian Grima’s poems, “Distanzi,” “Qamar?” “Asefru għal Poplu,” and “Quddiem l-Ispiżerija tal-Gvern,” have been translated into English by Maria Grech Ganado and will be read by actress Marcelle Teuma.


Tuesday 14th September 2004

Poetry Reading at St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity

Maria Grech Ganado (Malta) – Vinyet Panyella (Spain)

Wednesday 15th September 2004

Poetry Reading at St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity

Adrian Grima (Malta) – Tonko Maroević (Croatia)

Thursday 16th September 2004

Press Conference at St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity. Presentation of Memorandum to the Chairman of the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, Prof Joe Friggieri

Poetry Reading at St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity

Victor Fenech (Malta) – Paola Turroni (Italy)

All readings start at 20.00hrs. Poems will be read in the original version by the poets themselves and in English translation by Marcelle Teuma

After the readings the audience will have the opportunity to make interventions/questions to the poets.

Poems will be read in the original version by the poets themselves and in English translation by Marcelle Teuma. After the readings the audience will have the opportunity to make interventions and ask questions.

Entrance is free.

The Festival is being coordinated by Mr Immanuel Mifsud, a leading poet and short story writer himself: “Poetry is not only a creative end in itself but also a powerful tool for raising awareness about the human condition. A poem is valued for its ability to provide a heightened intellectual and emotional experience like other artistic genres, and for its literary skills in achieving that end.”

The poems read during the festival and their versions in English have been collected in an anthology that will be on sale at Lm2 at St. James Cavalier.

According to Mr. Lino Mintoff, artistic director of the Summer Cultural Activities Series 2004, “The writing and reading of poetry is a civilising experience, making all of us a little more perceptive, tolerant and thoughtful. This is the reason why the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts decided to include this festival of international poetry in this Series.”

The Poets

Tonko Maroevic, Maria Grech Ganado, Paola Turroni

Maria Grech Ganado (Malta)

Maria Grech Ganado published two collections of poetry in Maltese, Iżda Mhux Biss (But Not Only), which won the first prize of the National Literary Award for Poetry, and Skond Eva (According to Eve).  In 2003 she published a collection of poems in English, Ribcage.

Several works by Maria Grech Ganado were translated into English, French and Italian. She has also won international poetry prizes.

Vinyet Panyella (Spain)

Vinyet Panyella was born in Sitges (Spain, Catalunya). To date she has written a total of twenty-six books, comprising poetry collections, books about art, literature, and cultural history, children’s fiction, biographies and essays. She won the Rosa Leveroni Prize for Poetry in 1993 and the Recvll Prize for Poetry in 1997.

Her recent works combine poetry, design and digital photography. Besides poetry and fiction, Vinyet Panyella has also compiled an anthology of contemporary Catalan women poets, Contemporànies Antologia de poetes dels Països Catalans, with a second edition to be out this year too.

Vinyet Panyella is a specialist on Catalan culture and avantgarde movements and was curator for a number of exhibitions.

Adrian Grima (Malta)

adrian_grima_vers_smallAdrian Grima is a lecturer in Maltese literature at the University of Malta. He is the coordinator of the cultural organization Inizjamed and the Maltese correspondent of the website about culture in the Mediterranean. His doctoral thesis dealt with the creation of the Maltese national imaginary in Maltese literature. (Picture by Carmel Bonello, 16.9.04)

Adrian Grima has read papers about Maltese literature, the Mediterranean and cultural activism at conferences and seminars in Europe, the USA and the Caribbean.

In 1999 he published It-Trumbettier, a collection of poems in Maltese with translations in English which placed second in the Tivoli Prize for books by Young European poets. His poetry has also appeared in publications in France, Italy, Israel and Cyprus. He is the editor of F’Kull Belt Hemm Kantuniera (Inizjamed, 2003) and other collections of contemporary Maltese literature.

Tonko Maroevic (Croatia)

Tonko Maroević was born in Split in 1941. He has lived, studied and worked in Zagreb with stays in Rome, Milan and Trieste. He is a recognised poet, literary critic and anthologist and is the author of a series of books on modern and contemporary Croatian artists.

Among his publications: Examples (1965), Geneviève as a Theme (1986), Profession: Sonnet Writing (1992,), Black and Light (1995) Tributes and Apologies (1986), Speculum adriaticum (1989), In Defense of Reproach (1988, essays); Bull’s Skin (1987, anthology of Catalan poetry) and Exclamations (1996, anthology of contemporary Croatian poetry, translated into several languages).

He has also translated into Croatian works of Dante, Petrarch, Cavalcanti, Lorca, Borges, Jarry, Sciascia and others.

Victor Fenech (Malta)

Hailed as one of the most prominent modern poets in Malta, Victor Fenech is a bi-lingual writer (Maltese and English) whose poems have been widely anthologised. Since his first co-authored anthology, Kwartett, in 1965, he has figured in seven new poetry collections; of these Altamira (1979) introduced the prosepoem in Maltese literature.

Poems of his were translated into Italian, German, Esperanto and French, and were published in international anthologies such as Orizzonte Senza Fine, Malet-Literatur aus Malta, Souffles, Poet India, Limestone 84 and Crosswinds.

Victor Fenech has also published a number of anthologies in the UK, such as London Pictures and other Poems, Today I waited, and Let Now Mdina Sleep, the latter had also a Dutch version Laat Mdina nu Slapen published in 2000.

Victor Fenech won the Golden Pen in 1974, and the National Literary Award for Poetry in 1997.

Paola Turroni (Italy)

paola turroni - Bazzano-frontale-web

Paola Turroni was born in Italy in 1971, and studied humanities and art.

In 2000, Paola Turroni published her first poetry collection, Animale. In 2003 she published a collection of short stories together with Sabrina Foschini, Due Mani di Colore, and another collection of poems Il Vincolo del Volo.

Paola Turroni holds regular workshops dealing with various communication forms and is also involved in theatre and cinema.

Immanuel Mifsud

Poets stress value of their work

17 September 2004|Massimo Farrugia | Times of Malta

The first international poetry festival of Malta, involving an Italian, a Spanish, a Croatian and three Maltese poets, ended at St James’ Cavalier, in Valletta yesterday evening.

Named Vers, the festival was held over three evenings during which Victor Fenech, Maria Grech Ganado, Adrian Grima, Tonko Maroevic, Vinyet Panyella and Paola Turroni read their pieces in front of an audience of about 50 people.

“The works were read out in the poet’s respective native languages, where the audience could appreciate the sound and rhythm of the languages even if they did not understand. A reading of the poems translated into English took place after,” Vers coordinator Immanuel Mifsud said.

Himself a poet, Mr Mifsud raised questions on the value of poetry in “today’s society” as he read out a memorandum that the participants presented to the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts yesterday afternoon.

Poets struggled to make their voice heard in a society where different realities established different worlds, where the principal objective of most initiatives was consumerism and where poetry was deemed to be “dead and futile”.

But besides being useful and important for them personally, the poets said their work had a collective value, especially when it was read out and “shared” with an audience as had happened during the festival.

The poets said they encouraged other such initiatives, including twinning poetry to other art forms, translating works into different languages and encouraging independent publications that did not follow mainstream publishing.

Arts council chairman Joe Friggieri said there were many young Maltese who wrote verse even though they had never really got any exposure. “These initiatives should encourage them to come forth and make their voices heard,” Prof. Friggieri said.

Memorandum dwar il-Poeżija

Memorandum ippreżentat lill-Kunsill Nazzjonali tal-Kultura u l-Arti, mill-parteċipanti ta’ Vers, il-Festival Internazzjonali tal-Poeżija li sar f’Malta bejn l-14 u s-16 ta’ Settembru, 2004

 Ħafna drabi, lill-poeti jistaqsuhom dwar il-valur tal-poeżija. Din il-mistoqsija tidher aktar pertinenti fid-dinja tal-lum, fejn jidher li l-qisien li jistabbilixxu l-valur ta’ ħaġa saru aktar definiti u relattivament ċari.

Biex dak li jkun iwieġeb din il-mistoqsija, irid, qabelxejn, jiddefinixxi x’inhi “id-dinja tal-lum”. Filwaqt li nifhmu li l-era tan-narrattivi l-kbar illum il-ġurnata spiċċat, u filwaqt li nirrikonoxxu li hemm veritajiet varji li jistabbilixxu dinjiet diversi, permezz ta’ l-esperjenzi tagħna, minkejja li ġejjin minn pajjiżi b’realtajiet differenti, nistgħu nagħtu stampa pjuttost definita ta’ x’nifhmu b’ “id-dinja tal-lum”.

Nifhmu li din id-dinja tal-lum hija tali li l-konsum huwa l-objettiv prinċipali ta’ l-inizjattivi u l-attivitajiet fil-ħajja ta’ kuljum. Dan jintwera b’mod ċar bit-tip ta’ ħajja materjalista u konsumerista li l-kapitaliżmu avvanzat żera’ u rawwem fis-soċjetajiet diversi li nappartjenu għalihom aħna. Fuq il-lat kulturali, dan il-materjaliżmu jidher b’mod ċar minn dak li qiegħed jiġi ppreżentat lill-poplu, fejn l-hekk imsejjaħ reality tv, is-sitcoms, u programmar populista ieħor qiegħed jimxi pari passu mal-proċess negattiv tal-globalizzazzjoni.

F’sitwazzjoni bħal din, il-poeżija tiġi meqjusa bħala inutli, jekk mhux ukoll mejta, minħabba li ma taqax taħt il-parametri konsumisti u materjalisti mħaddna mill-kapitaliżmu avvanzat u l-globalizzazzjoni. Fis-sistemi soċjali li aħna nappartjenu għalihom il-valur ta’ oġġett jew ta’ attività jitqies biss skond il-profitt, l-immedjatezza u l-gwadann materjali.

Barra minhekk, din id-dinja tal-lum, hija kkaraterizzata minn ġirja sfrenata lejn l-hekk  imsejjaħ progress teknoloġiku li jġib miegħu bidliet tant kbar li l-bniedem stess m’għadux kapaċi jirreaġixxi għaliha.

Ninnutaw ukoll, li hija s-sistema soċjali u politika li qiegħda, fl-aħħar mill-aħħar, tikkontribwixxi għan-nuqqas ta’ apprezzament tal-poeżija.

Hemm aspetti oħra, forsi wħud minnhom jistgħu anki jissorprendu, li qegħdin jheddu l-poeżija. Fil-qasam tal-pubblikazzjoni ninnutaw li anki d-djar tal-pubblikazzjonijiet inġarru mill-mewġa konsumista. Anki l-pubblikaturi saru interessati fl-immedjat, u fil-konsum bil-massa. Illum il-ġurnata, pubblikatur huwa aktar interessat li jipproduċi best seller, li ġeneralment huwa rumanz. Dan jista’ jiġi miġbur fis-sentenza: il-poeżija ma tinbiegħx.

Jgħaddi wkoll mingħalina, li f’ċerti każi kienu l-poeti stess li sparaw għal saqajhom, meta ħolqu problemi serji ta’ komunikabilità. Jista’ jkun ukoll li kien hemm drabi meta kienu l-poeti stess li bbanalizzaw il-poeżija. Il-poeżija jrid ikollha d-dinjità tagħha.

X’inhi l-poeżija?

Fid-dawl ta’ dan kollu, irridu niddefinixxu wkoll x’inhija l-poeżija. Filwaqt li qegħdin ninnutaw il-kors soċjali, politiku u kulturali li s-soċjetajiet tagħna qabdu, nemmnu li l-poeżija hija l-antidotu tal-banalizzazzjoni globalizzata li qegħdin ngħixu fiha. Il-globalizzazzjoni tal-banalità tirrikjedi s-simplifikazzjoni, jew aħjar is-simpliċizzazzjoni ta’ l-aspetti kollha tal-ħajja umana. U allura nemmnu li l-poeżija hija r-risposta għal dan il-proċess distruttiv. Għaldaqstant, il-poeżija hija minnha nfisha att sovverżiv li jfittex li jirreżisti l-mewġiet tal-konvenzjonijiet il-ġodda li twieldu fl-era tal-kapitaliżmu avvanzat.

Minkejja din is-sitwazzjoni, aħna ma nħossu l-ebda ħtieġa li ‘nsalvaw’ il-poeżija. Irridu nagħrfu l-fatt li aħna poeti l-ewwel u qabel kollox għax il-poeżija hija importanti għalina personalment. Sakemm aħna nħossu l-ħtieġa tagħha, il-poeżija tibqa’ utli u importanti. Dan huwa l-punt tat-tluq, u bħala tali huwa punt ċentrali li l-ebda sistema soċjali u ekonomika ma tista’ tibdel.

Nemmnu wkoll li mingħajr il-poeżija ma nkunux dak li fil-fatt aħna.  Iżda, il-valur tal-poeżija jmur ukoll lilhinn mill-aspett purament suġġettiv. Nemmnu li indipendentement minna nfusna, il-poeżija għandha wkoll valur kollettiv, anki jekk dan isegwi l-interess personali.

Dan l-interess kollettiv ifisser li l-valur tal-poeżija jirreżisti l-immedjatezza mitmugħa lill-poplu mis-sistemi soċjali, kulturali u ekonomiċi.

Barra minn hekk, il-poeżija trid tkun ħajja u timxi fi proċess kontinwu ta’ metamorfosi, li hija r-realtà tal-poeżija.

Nifhmu li l-poeżija m’għandhiex tiġi imposta, iżda għandha tiġi offruta. Il-qofol ta’ kollox huwa kif għandha tiġi ppreżentata l-poeżija. Hemm diversi modi kif il-poeżija tista’ tiġi offruta u ppreżentata lill-pubbliku.

  • Permezz ta’ żwieġ bejn il-poeżija u ġeneri oħra artistiċi
  • Permezz ta’ traduzzjonijiet ta’ testi poetiċi
  • Permezz ta’ skambji
  • Permezz ta’ pubblikazzjonijiet indipendenti li ma jimxux mal-mainstream
  • Permezz ta’ inizjattivi oħra bħall-ħwienet tal-poeżija.

Victor Fenech, Maria Grech Ganado, Adrian Grima, Tonko Maroević, Vinyet Panyella, Paola Turroni

Kitba ta’ Immanuel Mifsud | Is-16 ta’ Settembru 2004


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s