The Catalan poet, Gabriel Ferrater (1922-1972) is a poet of personal experience - he once suggested that his poetry had an affinity with Hardy's, a poet he greatly admired - and succeeds like no other poet in capturing the feeling of Catalan society both during and since the Spanish Civil War (1936-39).
Although he came to poetry relatively late (he was 38 when his first collection was published), he was able to draw on a range of experience which many younger poets would have envied. Like Hardy, he wrote simply from a sense of his own life, always managing to convey something of the density of life which can never be reduced to a single meaning.
Ferrater's remarkable poems are presented in this selection in an equally remarkable translation by Arthur Terry who succeeds in capturing the poet's rich imagery and subtle metaphors with an apparent effortlessness that makes the English reader thrill with a sense of the beauty of it all. Terry began to translate Ferrater's work in 1967 when he was Professor of Spanish at Queen's University, Belfast, in the early years of the Belfast Writing Group of which Seamus Heaney was a member. In his illuminating introduction to this volume, Heaney likens Ferrater to Robert Frost ("Had Frost grown up during a civil war he might have written like this"), to Frost's friend Edward Thomas ("because they share similar qualities of tough-mindedness and tendresse..."), to Wordsworth ("Like Wordsworth, Ferrater endeavours to keep his reader in the presence of flesh and blood"), and he concludes: "But like other exemplary artists of his own century, [Ferrater] keeps his gaze steady and his faith in the staying power of art unyielding even when flesh and blood have to quail and fail."
Parallel text, Catalan / English
ISBN 1 900072 90 4
Published June 2004