“A good poem, no matter how beautiful, will be cruel”. This sentence sums up the calculatedly realistic poetic conception of Joan Margarit, an architect by training who sought in poetry the “house of mercy” to take refuge from the painful experiences of life and build emotional and stark verses that challenge the reader to reflect about their own experiences.
Vocational poet of late and leisurely beginning, with a period of silence of a decade, Margarit reached the fullness of her work in middle age, when she wrote about the inexorable passage of time, of the wounds that life leaves and the need to record one’s own existence, with the feelings, experiences and reflections that it provokes.
The poetry of Joan Margarit is therefore a antidote to oblivion, a way of recording the feeling of an instant, an anxiolytic that calms the anguish due to the fleeting nature of life.
A life that he abandoned this Tuesday and in which he had to pass through the sordid and unhappy postwar, within a family belonging to the losing side and estranged at various times from his parents for work reasons, with frequent changes of the family address -Sanaüja, Rubí, Girona, Barcelona, Tenerife- which led him to a certain uprooting and introspection in his childhood and youth.
Very soon he also knows the hard blows of life – when he is four years old his sister Trini dies of meningitis – and later goes through the trance of seeing two daughters die: Anna, at a few months old, and Joana, suffering from Rubinstein-Taybe syndrome, at 30 years of age due to cancer.
Margarit transfers all that inner world to some austere, refined verses, devoid of superfluous ornaments and that directly challenge those who read them, since their poems come out to meet the reader, who is the one who will give them a new dimension. “When I write a poem I leave myself looking for the other, who will later come and read my poem”, Joan Margarit has come to recognize.
His technical training as a professor of Structural Calculus leads him to build a solid foundation of poems with an architecture of concise verses and precise words, which flees from rhetoric and leaves no excess material. Margarit said that poetry “is the most exact of letters, in the same sense that mathematics is the most exact of the sciences,” and that is why she sought the necessary balance when expressing her emotions through her expressive capacity.
With this he also found the clarity and expressive transparency, avoiding obscurantisms artificial, because for Margarit a good poem must be understood by readers without making special effort. But what makes Joan Margarit a unique and perhaps unrepeatable poet is her status as a bilingual poet, being able to project a poetic voice expressed in two languages.
Margarit began writing poetry in Spanish, he later decided on Catalan, his mother tongue, and ended up composing in both languages, not translating them, as he warned on more than one occasion, as he claimed that he wrote them almost at the same time in both languages. His relationship with Castilian began in a tortuous way, because in his childhood Francoism imposed it on him “by kicking”, as he himself affirmed, although he never rejected it, he made it his and said that he never thought of “giving it back.”
And it is that one of the most recognizable constants of Margarit’s work is that of appropriate everything that caused harm or regret in life, distill it inside and turn it into poems charged with poetic purity to the delight of its readers.