Joan Margarit

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Sanaüja (Lleida) 1938 - Sant Just Desvern (Barcelona) 2021

Joan Margarit is considered by critics, writers and readers as one of the most important contemporary authors in Spain and, without doubt, as the most international of Catalan poets. His literary work, which has won several awards and has been translated into several languages, includes 17 volumes, 11 anthologies, an essay and some memoirs, and is very consistent with themes such as the passage of time, history, language, identity, and love.

The author's growing interest in the theme of the passage of time, which became noticeable as Margarit reached middle age, is becoming more important in his mature works and, as he himself refers to it, his senility. In spite of the forceful tone of his verses, not allowing for complacency, and the recurrent images with which the poet often evokes the so-called 'narrative of decline', Joan Margarit's late poetry offers a "luminous" vision, as his translators have pointed out, which is in fact intimately connected to an integrating perception of old age. 

In the context of this project, the most recent collections of Joan Margarit (specifically, those published in the last ten years) have been studied, as well as his essay New Letters to a Young Poet. Considering literary gerontology, it has been possible to demonstrate that Margarit's late poetry presents old age as a complex phase of personal growth and the culmination of identity, in which love, loneliness and loss acquire another meaning. Through the particular analysis of the essay on his poetics it is possible to observe how life experience and skills acquired with age are integrated into a new form of knowledge, and generate a type of moral wisdom in the poet from which younger generations, whether writers or not, can benefit.



 a) Visión más allá de la muerte:

Del poema "Després" (de Misteriosamente feliz, p 31)

Llum de la soledat incompetent:

enfocaràs un escenari buit

il·luminant el meu final feliç.

La meva alegria sense mi.


b) Sobre la poesía en el presente:

De Des d'on tornar a estimar (p95):

Aquests poemes busquen des d'on tornar a estimar.

I tornes a la taula,

on el poema continua.

És aquí, amb tu.


c) La identidad y el paso del tiempo:

"Ser el que dius" (p71)

Ho has construït al teu entorn.

T'ha protegit I t'ha aïllat.

Dels fonaments bastits amb l'admiració

Sota els murs de la teva poesia,

No te n'avergonyeixis: són segurs.

Van fer patir l'infant. El vell ja no.


d) Reafirmación en la vejez:

De Misteriosament feliç:

“Restaurar” (p29)

Sóc vell i no vull ser reconstruït.

Conec la meva fosca, les torxes i les brases:

No hi ha més claredat que la del propi foc.


e) El amor, una sorpresa, otra vez:

No era lluny ni difícil

"El que em sosté" (p91)

L’amor, quan m’he fet vell,

encara m’ha sorprès:

com entrar en un casino

buit i fosc on, de sobte

s’han encès tots els llums.


f) La pérdida, revisitada:

De Misteriosament feliç:

Comprenc que són els morts

els qui donen sentit

a aquesta soledat (p 34)

perquè les pèrdues

- com fan les làmpades en una cambra -

donen vida a la [s]eva intimitat (p 83)


g) La sabiduría, al fin:

De Un hivern fascinant (del último poema publicado, a día de hoy)

He vist els grans voltors damunt d'un mar de boira.

Però res no ha acabat, i no sé de cap pèrdua.

Què era el que posseïa?

No puc jugar amb la por com quan era un infant.

Ja sóc al fons del bosc de tots els contes,

Somrient I feliç de no ser jove.

Sabent que, quan s'ha obert,

una esquerda no es torna a tancar mai.


Webpages with recent interviews:

The poet Joan Margarit publishes the personal anthology ‘Sense el dolor no hauríem estimat’:

Interview with Eva Piquer about old age and the meaning of life:

Interview with Josep Puigbó en (S)avis (2013, Canal 33 Televisió de Catalunya):

Interview with Xavier Grasset in Més 3/24 (2017, Canal 3/24 Televisió de Catalunya):

Interview with Laura Rosel in the programme FAQS (2018, TV3 Televisió de Catalunya):

Interview with Anna Guitart en Tot el temps del món (2019, Canal 33 Televisió de Catalunya):

Interview with Óscar López in the programme RTVE Page 2:

Cervantes Prize 2019:

Joan Margarit writes from/about COVID-19 lockdown:


Studies generated in the context of this project:

Analysis of his later poetry:

  • Casado-Gual, Núria. “Lessons from a Dignus Old Poet: Insights on Ageing and Creativity through Joan Margarit’s Late-Life Works”. 1st INDEST International Conference on Social and Territorial Development. University of Lleida, 23rd and 24th November 2017. (Congress communication)
  • Casado-Gual, Núria. "Lessons from an Older Poet: The Meanings of Ageing in Joan Margarit's Late-life Poetry." Catalan Review, issue 33, 2019, pp39-54. ISSN: 0213-5949
  • "Joan Margarit: Poesia tardana a la llum de la vellesa". Aula Oberta, Universitat de Lleida, 6 de febrero de 2019. (Knowledge transfer)

Analysis of the essay on his poetry:

  • Casado-Gual, Núria. “Old Pillars for Future Buildings: Joan Margarit’s Late-Life Lessons on Writing and Living.” 47th British Society of Gerontology Conference: Ageing in an Unequal World, Shaping Environments for the 21st Manchester University, 4-6 July 2018. (Congress communication)
  • "Literary Mentors for Life: Joan Margarit's Lessons on Poetry and Ageing in New Letters to a Young Poet." Re-discovering Age(ing) Through Narratives of Mentorship: Essays in Cultural Gerontology. Núria Casado, Maricel Oró y Emma Domínguez. Transcript, 2019. (Book chapter in print)

Analysis of the pedagogical and social applications of his later poetry:

  • Oró-Piqueras, Maricel, Domínguez-Rué, Emma, Mina-Riera, Núria, y Casado-Gual, Núria. "La lectura y escritura creativa como herramientas de análisis y transformación de la vejez: un taller con mayores". (Article being evaluated by a scientific journal)

Recent activity:

  • Interview with the author (25th of October 2019).
  • Informative sessions with senior students from the Continued Learning Programme - Balaguer, November 2019.

Planned activity:

  • Joint article writing with other researchers of the project based on interviews and authors. (2020)
  • Participation in the conference on creativity and ageing of this project (2020)
  • Informative talks about this line of study (2020)


By: Núria Casado Gual 


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