I’m back in Malta where, besides meeting again comrade Marx I will also be joining 10 other writers from the Mediterranean for a week-long writers’ retreat and workshops in which we will be translating each others’ works.
We will then present them in the weekend (Thursday 29 to Saturday 31 August) in what has now become a fixture of the Maltese literary calendar, the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival. You can find the full programme and details here: Festival website.
Here is one poem I will be reading in Maltese, translated by Albert Gatt, who will interview me on Thursday.
The Maltese festa Date slices – half a dozen, some qassatat, a dozen cheese cakes; bread dripping rivulets of oil like tears of sorrow of Our Lady; a statue of the patron saint held high upon a gilded dais, his head swinging from left to right smacking the electric wire; there's merrymaking in the streets, the church bells knell welcome respite from the panegyric, a vintage sermon, worthy of UNESCO heritage status; promiscuous youngsters gad about while on a break from Cana’s marriage course, a little boy high on his father’s beer, petards in the sky poking at God, an officer with damp armpits wielding an ice cream, a fat man in a stained singlet, his fatter wife nicking his chips, a pushchair in the middle of the road, its wheel stuck in a ditch, a chair reserved for the president of the band club, the mayor decked with ribbons, colourful toys all Made in China, handfuls of paper shreds from balconies, flags on their poles topped with blue lights which imitate the solutide of latrines, lightbulb festoons aglow with stolen power supplies, houses with open doors, chandeliers ablaze and brand-new lace, endless mounts of ganutell on marbled chests of drawers in hallways, the envy of the neighbours grouped outside in sour clouds of sweat, petards and powder waiting to be dragged by next day's current into an azure sea polluted by an entire village.
And in other news, my new book of poems in Maltese, Passju Taħt ix-Xita (which translates into Hopscotch in the Rain – also the name of this blog, just in case you missed it) is on sale, just published by Horizons Publications. I just love the cover photo and design by my friend Gilbert Calleja. Gilbert, you’re not only sexy, but a great artist too.
You can now order a copy by clicking here.