The Tragedy of the Elephant

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The Tragedy of the Elephant is a collection of poems by Adrian Grima translated into English from the original in Maltese by various writers. The book is one of six little books in a series of Contemporary Maltese Literature in Translation published by Inizjamed in collaboration with Midsea Books in 2005. The series editor is Adrian Grima.

Adrian Grima’s poem, “It-Traġedja ta’ l-Iljunfant Li Ried Jidħol f’Gaġġa ta’ l-Għasafar”  (“The Tragedy of the Elephant That Wanted to Enter a Birdcage”) has been translated into Hebrew and published in the latest edition of Iton 77, a major poetry periodical. This is an English version of the note about the poem by the internationally renowned Israeli poet Ronny Someck (April 2004) that was published alongside the Hebrew version of the poem and translated from Hebrew by Shlomit Anbar:

Adrian Grima (born in 1968 in Malta) carries a fist of protest on the back of a poetic elephant. Seemingly, an innocent story but in fact, it’s a story about the narrow gap between a ruler and a subject.


Adrian Grima tears off the two-dimensional placard of the harsh saying and presents the same saying with multi-dimensional poetical power.


The “elephantic” bait that is displayed in front of the reader’s eyes resembles lucid water in which our image is reflected. The metaphoric stone that is thrown to these waters is to undermine this innocent reflection.


Ronny Someck


The six books in this collection are the following:

  • Others, across (2005) by Clare Azzopardi
  • Waiting for green – Traffic light thoughts (2005) by Stanley Borg
  • Stay, Fairy Tale, Stay! memoirs of a city cast adrift (2005) by Norbert Bugeja
  • The Tragedy of the Elephant (2005) by Adrian Grima
  • Water, fire, earth and i (2005) by Simone Inguanez

The book is on sale from Midsea Books (Klabb Kotba Maltin), Amazon and Book Depository.

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