Hemant Divate, of Poetrywala (Paperwall Media & Publishing) in Mumbai, India, has just announced the publication of the book of poems by Adrian Grima, Last-ditch Ecstasy (2017). These translations by Albert Gatt from the originals in Maltese in Klin u Kapriċċi Oħra (Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2015) were supported by the Cultural Export Fund of the Malta Arts Fund.
Special thanks to Albert Gatt for his splendid translations from Maltese; Hemant Divate of Poetrywala; Joseph Mizzi of Klabb Kotba Maltin: and the Cultural Export Fund. A big thank you to Sampurna Chattarji and Jim Crace for their wonderful blurbs.
How can the soul survive the world’s brutality? This is the essential, unanswerable question that Adrian Grima asks in and through his poems, beautifully translated from the Maltese by Albert Gatt. Taut with unexpected collusions, the poems walk the tightrope tensions of time and space. Turmoil, both emotional and political, is contained within the ascetic rigour of the lines; the mysteries of the distant are brought closer through eyes and lips, taste and touch. In Grima’s world, a lull can be as keen as a knife, blood can be the ultimate betrayal. An arterial anxiety courses through his work. Between “thistle and sun”, between skin and skin, between “departure and return”, the poet repeatedly alerts us to the heart-breaking fragility of the body, besieged. Coexistent with his bruising awareness of damage is his faith in contact, in simple human pleasures, a conversation, a pot of flowers, a meal. Deeply intelligent and moving, here is a book with “sky in its wings, migration in its heart”. Read it, be shattered, then soar.
Adrian Grima ─ in collaboration with his talented and unusually resourceful translator, Albert Gatt ─ has produced a rich and memorable compilation of poems. Their geographical and emotional stew is international in its flavours yet always Maltese in its complex marinations. Grima succeeds in being ─ and these are potent combinations ─ both lyrical and true-to-life, both tender and unblinking, both comforting and challenging. His collection is a thought-provoking joy.