The poet Joan Margarit was a man without anger, with contagious energy. A devotee of emotion. It was born when the Civil War. In Sanauja (Lleida), in 1938. He died a few hours ago at his home in Sant Just Desvern (Barcelona), as he chose, as he had planned. At 82 years old. Last winter the doctors spoke to him of vital eviction when the furrows of the disease appeared irrevocable, and he thought slowly about death, his death, ordering papers, and ordering memories.
With music nearby, I prefer it to life. In the months of the outbreak of the pandemic, he began to write, also, the poems of a book that he has left finished and unpublished, ready to go to press but that he will not see in print: Forest Animal a bilingual group (Catalan / Spanish), already posthumous, which in two weeks will be published by the Visor publishing house in its Word of Honor collection. Margaret endured tremendous blows, at times life was neither good nor sacred, but she avoided making sadness a norm. He was educated by his illiterate grandmother by giving him a clue in the world of words with a very delicate Catalan as the base language for amazement and dreams, musical and intuitive.
At the age of five or six, the motivated man from the town gave him a slap when he left school because he was not speaking Spanish on the street. They tried to seal off his language when he was a child. Since then, he wanted to preserve his original language from the vicissitudes and inclemencies of those who tried to cut it down. He began poetry writing in Spanish until he noticed that his expression was forced. Then he switched to Catalan and with that transfer he modified (broadened) the scope of his work. He adopted his mother tongue literarily, but without lacking the rigorous translation into Spanish that he himself did of his work, fostering an idiomatic coexistence that has lasted almost three decades.
He gleaned as a teenager in the midst of crazy transhumance of houses. It went through more than 10 in five years. He studied architecture, was a professor of structural calculation. He has more than 30 books of poems, some of them highly successful such as Joana 2002 an intense book of mourning Calculus of structures (2005) his study was in charge of carrying out the calculation of the structure of the Sagrada Familia to continue Gaudí’s work-, Casa de misericordia (2007) or Amar es Donde (2015). He also published some memoirs that are not exactly memoirs, but where he enters into his childhood to better understand his now. He titled them like this.
To have a house you have to win the war (Austral). He knew loneliness well: he buried two of his daughters (Joana and Anna) and that fierce damage has left its mark in many poems that are balm and purge. The awards have also been punctuating his work: the National Poetry in 2008 and 2019 the Reina Sofía de Poesia Iberoamericana and the Cervantes. The latter, whose delivery is invariably convened on April 23 in a ceremony presided over by the Kings in the auditorium of the University of Alcalá de Henares, could not be held this year due to the ravages of the covid.
The Catalan poet dies without leaving the award ceremony, something that had not happened since it was instituted in 1976. On December 21, the Kings traveled to Barcelona, to the Palauet Albeniz to present the award to the author of Un amazing winter. Joan Margarit was an attentive poet clear of expression with a great ability to reach the exact center of a difficult emotion in fits and starts and at the same time, shoot a loud laugh into the sky as if he were at a fair. He lived in retirement in a town on the outskirts of Barcelona, Sant Just Desvern, where they named the public library after him but never invited him to read their poems inside.
He maintained traces of theoretical complicity with the independence movement, although time and what he has seen in these years of political neglect made him understand that rowing together better reaches port. Independence is not believed by those who bet everything on it. The necessary conditions are not in place for any of this. In a long interview in November 2019 published in this newspaper, when asked if the independence movement had disappointed him, he replied It is not easy to answer. I still remember when I was beaten at five for speaking Catalan. There is a fear within me that I can alleviate with culture, but not avoid it. Spain scares me. And I say Spain with Catalonia inside. Spain has scared me since the Catholic Monarchs.
He was not afraid of sincerity or provocations because he does not speak to give blows of effect. It is something a temperament, an attitude that in her case has the gravitational center in poetry clear reflective, confessional serene far from abstractions. He would rather say old than old. Child than childhood. And he also has other conditions of his own: he accepts that living is also done together with the successive ghosts and the cold left by his absences, the night of those who no longer accompany him. Margarita’s writing seeks and dispenses complicity, it does not avoid the weather itself does not matter if life turns over or not on your part.
Just as he embraces joy if it is given, the poet accepts that pain and silence are part of the world. Music and books were his best comforting tools Freedom is a bookstore he wrote). He was an honest man, convinced that everything begins and ends in a sincere, authentic, shared verse. His life could be said like this beginning and end of the night. Exact science and emotion.