Back on the rock for our rocking literature fest


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.

9789995738235And 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.


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One thought on “Back on the rock for our rocking literature fest

  1. Just wow and wow and wow!!!
    That’s wonderful and great news.. wish I could attend ;(..I knew these great poems deserve to find its way to large audience ..
    Because I believe in that, I have translated a lot of your poems into Arabic and I will finish all the blog your book will be in three languages 😀

    I will never forget the first words I read in this blogs,,

    With every death
    we are reminded
    that life’s a fatal game
    giving us everything
    enveloped in nothingness
    cocktails of misery and desire
    raising expectations
    on paper castles
    dominoes laid out to attention
    by some sick psychotic mind
    waiting for the little push
    a patient cancer
    a growing gaping void in the guts
    a slowed-down heart running out of steam
    a clot of sadness in the arteries
    demented memory banks lost in the woods
    some unfading image of a loved one
    waiting for the little push
    to be switched off.

    ما فتئت كل موتةٍ جديدةٍ
    تذكرنا بأن الحياة لعبة قاتلة
    تُغدق علينا عطائها ..
    لكنها تغلفه لنا بالعدم
    خليطٌ من الرغبة و البؤس
    وتزايدُ آمالٍ
    أعلى قلاع الورق
    و تراصُ أحجار الدومينو
    بأنّا ننتظر السقطة الأخيرة..
    مريضُ عضالٍ
    أفزعه فراغ تزايد في الشجاعة
    و تباطؤ دقات قلبٍ خارت قواه
    و تجَلُطُ حزنٍ في الشرايين
    و مصارف فقدت ذاكرتها المختلة في الغابات
    و صور مبتدعة لحبيبٍ
    ينتظر الدفعة الأخير..
    كي ينطفيء

    I know am not lucky! Even to get your book.. I was waiting to get it via my friend, , I was full of enthusiasm and was ready to get it last July, but Rafah crossing border closed before 3days from her visit, and now she had changed her mind..
    Yalaah come back to Gaza..missak
    & Pleaaaase keep publishing and sharing your poems
    Be of luck.

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