Writing, an act of freedom

"Against the power of words, against the power of poetry and the knowledge of your dead, no one can do anything.

13 June 2022 Monday 15:45
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Writing, an act of freedom

"Against the power of words, against the power of poetry and the knowledge of your dead, no one can do anything." This is how Antònia Vicens (Santanyí, 1941) closed her parliament when she received the 54th Honorary Prize for Catalan Literature at the Palau de la Música Catalana.

The act, with the presence of the presidents of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Pere Aragonès, and of the Balearic Government, Francina Armengol, the president of the Parliament of Catalonia, Laura Borràs, and the former presidents José Montilla and Artur Mas, had begun with a show in that Anna Serra, Caterina Tugores and Esther López represented scenes inspired by the life of Vicens under the direction of Israel Solana (La Calòrica), with texts taken from the writer from Santanyí. “The first thing they taught me was to keep my mouth shut. Then came the prayers. Hot, precious words, full of sounds and shapes”, they said at the beginning, until they recite, quoting an interview, as “life began to fall to pieces and I thought that the verses were the best container to catch them”. She also remembers how “I had already decided that writing was an act of freedom, perhaps the only possible one”. The reflections on language, family life and everyday life are extended in scenic scenes with music and videos, with Vicens herself sharing the screen with younger writers such as Pol Guasch, Míriam Cano, Anna Pantinat or Esteve Plantada. “Since I don't understand it, I keep writing”, the show ends.

In the glossary, the writer and expert on the honored Sebastià Portell explains that "Antònia Vicens started writing before she knew how to write". Portell, author of two volumes on the award-winning, recalls his first books, The Scandal, he says, that an almost unpublished young girl won the Sant Jordi Prize in 1967, the best gifted then, with 39º in the shadows, with which he denounces the massification of tourism and labor exploitation in Mallorca, as well as in the rest of her work denounces corruption and unjust situations, and as an author made to the narrative suffers the attack of a poetic fever. Since 2009, poetry has been his main literary field, from Lovely (Moll, 2009) to Pare qu'em amb la mare morta (LaBreu, 2021).

The president of Òmnium Cultural, Xavier Antich, recalled that the award is “an example of what writing means as a civic and cultural commitment”, with a list of winners representative of the country despite the gender bias that he himself lamented – he asked , in fact, a kind of positive discrimination – with only eight women among the 54 winners. The president of Òmnium also denounced the situation of the Catalan language and made "a call to articulate a strategy in defense of the Catalan language and to strengthen its social use", appealing to civil society and the "parties that represent historical Catalanism ”, without forgetting that “the only language policy with a chance of success is the one that addresses the material well-being of the population with guarantees”.

Antich praised the "work of the language, the critical thrust and a very uninhibited freedom" with which Vicens has built his work. The writer, in her gratitude, recounted a narrative in which she is situated “at dead of night, in the port of Barcelona, ​​when everything is silent. Then a huge leaf carves the horizon, and the exuberant red and yellow of the dawn appear, and from afar, seagulls and a white spot, could it be a lost soul? The stain approaches and becomes a llagut where, among others, Ramon Llull, Ausiàs Marc, Isabel de Villena, Jacint Verdaguer, Dolors Monserdà, Carles Riba, Maria Aurèlia Capmany, Joan Fuster, Vicent Andrés Estellés, Blai Bonet travel. "They are a multitude, centuries of history and commitment narrating the deeds of this people." Links, like Vicens, on a long road.

Catalan version, here



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