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RAILROAD FLAT RADIO presents ...


          PRICE POETRY
          or THE LEFT
          VENTRICLE
          IN TIMES OF
          TROUBLE



A WORK-FOR-THE-RADIO TO COMMEMORATE
THE FIRST POPULAR FESTIVAL OF CATALAN POETRY
AT THE GRAN PRICE THEATRE, BARCELONA, 1970

                                       
    AGUSTÍ BARTRA
                         JON AUMAN
                                    & ONA BALLÓ PEDRAGOSA
    JOAN OLIVER (PERE QUART)
                        LUCY MERCER
                                    & STEPHEN WATTS
    SALVADOR ESPRIU
                        AIDAN MOFFAT   
                                    & HARMONY HOLIDAY 
    JOAN BROSSA 
                        DIAMANDA LA BERGE DRAMM
                                    & DOMINIC J. JAECKLE
    FRANCESC VALLVERDÚ
                        STANLEY SCHTINTER
                                    & CAMERON GRIFFITHS
    GABRIEL FERRATER
   








 Broadcasting on Resonance 104.4 FM 
 April 12th, 20:00 GMT ... 



A collaboration between the Institut Ramon Llull, Films 59 and Tenement Press, Price Poetry is a work-for-the-radio curated and edited by Dominic J. Jaeckle in response to the London Bookfair’s “spotlight” on Catalan literatures in translation; a special broadcast to commemorate and respond to the first Popular Festival of Catalan Poetry, May 25, 1970.






Held in Barcelona’s Gran Price Theatre—and in solidarity with political prisoners incarcerated under the Franco regime—the festival hosted readings by Agustí Bartra, Joan Oliver (Pere Quart), Salvador Espriu, Joan Brossa, Francesc Vallverdú and Gabriel Ferrater to a packed auditorium. Documented by Pere Portabella in his short film Poetes Catalans (1970), these readings and performances as accommodated in this underground assembly are emblematic of the central seat that poetry stakes in a history of Catalan social and cultural movement; they essay a persistent reminder of the ways in which an autonomous poetry underpins the political, playful, and acute dynamics of a people set on articulating forms of freedom in moments of authoritarian rule; and act as a significant document of an engaged avant garde tradition that resonates in our present moment.

A work of collage and sonic assembly, Price Poetry pairs archival recordings of Bartra, Oliver (Quart), Espriu, Brossa, Vallverdú and Ferrater as lifted from Portabella’s work (read in translation by Tenement editor Jon Auman) with original commissions, select readings and songs from Ona Balló Pedragosa, Lucy Mercer, Stephen Watts, Diamanda La Berge Dramm, Dominic J. Jaeckle, Aidan Moffat, Harmony Holiday and Stanley Schtinter. 



 For the Tenement Press publication of
 Joan Brossa’s El saltamartí,
 translated from the Catalan
 by Cameron Griffiths, see here ... 






An Order of Events ...


00.00        Opening Remarks

03.39        Ona Balló Pedragosa,
                 reads Joan Brossa’s ‘Preludi’ / ‘Prelude’


These lines, like
sheet music, are no more
than a collection of signs to
decipher. The reader of the poem
is a performer.

But,
today, I leave
my spirit in
its natural state. I
don’t want it agitated by thoughts
or ideas.



05.27        Joan Brossa,
                 read in English language translation
                 by Jon Auman ...


In the Catalan police corps
there is only one section
authorised to maintain public order
and it only and
specifically provides services
to the Provincial Council.


06.20        Lucy Mercer
                 reads her poem ‘Emblem’ ...


Which is to say about being encountered by a book  – an obscure cloud which has engulfed me in its shadowy context and unreadable languageiridised by light, moths, woodworm and bacteria eating raining remade pictures and scattering its reprints meanings running like deer into the grey shadow of a wood


                [ & on to fade ... ]


09.55        Ona Balló Pedragosa
                 reads Joan Brossa’s ‘El temps’ / ‘Time’ ...


This line is the present.

The line you have just read is already the past
—it remained behind after being read.
The rest of the poem is the future,
existing outside your
perception.

The words
are here, whether you read them
or not. And nothing on earth
can change that.


11.18        Joan Oliver (Pere Quart),
               read in English language translation
               by Jon Auman ...


One night at full moon
we crossed the mountains
slowly, without speaking.

As the moon was full,
so was our sorrow.

Now in France,
and later, perhaps, further still

I won't die of longing,
of longing I will live.

In my land, El Vallès,
three hills make a mountain,
four pines, a thick forest,
five hundred acres, too much land.

There is nothing like El Vallés!

Pine trees hug the cove,
a hermitage on the hill,
and on the beach,
an awning flaps like wings.

A lost hope! Infinite sorrow!

And a homeland so small
that I can dream it all at once



14.17        Stephen Watts               
               reads his poem ‘I am a Film’ ...


I am a film
The forest of red spruce is burning inside me
The gold of my intestines is a frozen lake of rain
The tree in my eye is a thousand years old
I am a film. The skins
Of my dream are forty-five buffalo hides
The urinal of heaven is resin burnt to dust.

I am a film.
A black line of nomads on a march of winter snow
A vestige of nightmare in the core of a mountain ash
A collapsed sheep fed apricots above the tree line
The mobility of resin in sleets of blood-berry time
The pulsing of blood in ancestor’s shadows

I am a film. I am a shroud
Over the face of a girl cornered by monotony.
I am a shroud placed by the art of political morons.
I am the flimsy space where breath can’t decay.
I am the way where there never was a way.
I am a film.

I am the ewe’s milk sold from the shack
The cheeses of despair out in the vodka ruts
The archives left out on the rooves to dry
The persistence to choose without knowing why
The words that form in the slick of the liver
The antonym of trauma in the road-edge hut
This is language that forms in the gut
I am a film.

I am Rumi who climbs in my un-windowed wall
I am Rilke who meets me up the deep stairwell
I’m Marina who gazes through my shut-eyed eye
I’m Jibanananda tossed high by a car out of hell
I’m Cesar Vallejo in some burnt mestizo cell
I’m Chairil Anwar in the highest high-rise
I’m despair on despair that climbers despise
I am a film.

I’m the sun seen through the belly of a horse
I’m a foal un-foaled by the red mare’s nurse
I’m a raft in the rapids, a curse in the floods
I am vodka urns drunk down incessant muds
I’m the moon that falls in the deep tureen
I’m the mean of meaning, the meaning
Of mean, the algebra of language.
I am a film.

The gabbeh of colour & the gabbeh of dream
Five little children in a meadow of poppies
A class-full of goats in a blue tent’s screen
Five little children who wake up & scream
Forty-five gabbehs laid to dry by a torrent
Rags of colour tied to the trees
I am a film.

I am gorse that burns in the coconut air
Coma crests of storm that march on the moor
Shark’s teeth of islands across a burnt-out sea
Displaced peasants beneath a monopoly flag
Legion on legion of exiled contadini
Paths to the shielings that run into bog-weed
Scratches of song from a muted tongue
I am a film.

Four-billion-year-old mountains seen from a plane
A shepherd’s language shared by fifteen men
A whole earth held in a spun pool of water
A vagina betrayed by a single red garter
This is language climbing from the aorta
I am a film.

A cone of wood for the making of charcoal
Smoke rising straight from an emptied village
Season on seizure in an unfinished ritual
Thunder walls on an epic snow journey
One warm commitment that is never enough
I am a film.

Children. A necklace
From a war yet to come.
Fragments. Scoriae. A rebuilt city.
Ten thousand incomprehensible avenues.
In the midst of this rehearsed world
That only stuns with its affluence.
Naturally we rejected the scars of
A disremembered time.
Memory that seeks out its scars.
As if its bricks were bruised off air.
As if the tenderest child were to
Shed her own dear life.
As if the Hanging Gardens were
No longer hanging in green time.
All the protesting nonsense of
Intricate days burnt down to nothing.
I am a film.

Such pure faces, such masked
Energies, such perverse visions.
O angel
Smile in the foetus of the world
O smile of angels here in our now.
Komitas the mad never made a film
But nor did he not ever make a film.
His whole unwayward life was one
Unwavering commitment of film,
A reel that ….


             


Or when you put your eye
So close up to a flower you can
No longer make out what it is
But a blur of blue and shape.
But its filaments, its stamen
Are still there, miraculous
Growths of what can only be.
Extraordinary world patterns :
That from which we were made.
Or like a chapel in the mountains
Rorsached with winter snows.
Or like the astonishing vortex of
Crepe that a mouse makes her nest
From, as complex as any
Mathematical structure of our earth,
Worked only by instinct & trust.
Such nests I preserved in my home
Until they were burnt accidentally
In the cold winters of regeneration.

Film is prosaic poetry only
Because poetry is essentially
Prosaic : what is quotidian still is
The stuff of our daily bread.
Pasolini knew that : but who
Knows Pasolini in these days.
In these days of autism & bliss
Who knows the urge of his rabbia
The contexts of his urgent rage
Though we occupy glutton cities
And try to energise new options.
Pasolini knew poetry is work.

Film, I tell you, is the most urgent & radical prosaic.
Film is pure poetry in our beautifully impure world.
Whirl of pattern in the innermost whorl of our brain.
Vagrant tongues that curl meanings through walls.
Women who can penetrate any wall without holes.
Women who can breach any peace that betrays us.
Zigzag of curdled energy in a rented meeting house.
Sheets of dark snows approaching over the moors.
Garbled language in bitter-tight coils of our world.
Savage snowstorm in such lamentable mountains.

Film, I tell you, is the most urgent & radical prosaic.

Old woman living life yearlong in a raw baita.
Her slowness vital yeast for our possible future.
Markets of pomegranate & peppers in thick rain.
Futures mercantiled for blubber in great cities.
Cynicisms choked back in bad-summer lattes.
 …………………………………………………. 
Film, I tell you is the most urgent prosaic
 I am a film.

It was siege warfare
They ate the leaves off the trees.
White wolves surrounded the houses.
All the villages & towns about razed.
Severed heads held aloft by masked men.
Absolute worlds of understanding never
Meeting political ethics of raw fratricide.
City of the sun splayed out in red deserts.
Calm boulevards reduced to dirt rubbles.
Little children screaming at their friends.
We who yearn the lyric calm of courage.
We who learn to cynic cornered outrage.
We who charmed the birds down from
The trees. I am my own language.
My language is me.
I am a film.

When I bypassed the city in the desert.
When I bypassed the hatreds in the senate.
When I gabbled at the air in my intestines.
When I garbled what matters in investing.
When I fluked the selfie of some murder.
When I puked the surfeit of my masters.
When I said all of poetry’s cunning labour.
When the city I’d bypassed self-exploded.
With the motive for its being unrecorded.
Sun-city that’s exploding in the morning.
Two different worlds of understanding.
White city of the sun !
I am a film.


24.25      Ona Balló Pedragosa
                
reads Joan Brossa’s ‘Poema’ / ‘Poem’ ...


It is certain
I have no money
and it’s clear that most coins
are made of chocolate;
but if you take this page,
double it long-ways
into two rectangles,
and afterwards into four,
then make an oblique fold
along the four sides
and separate them
into two main parts,
                      you will have
 a bird that moves 
its wings.


26.08      Diamanda La Berge Dramm
               
reads Dominic J. Jaeckle’s poem,
               ‘March 3rd (Mercè Rodoreda)’ ...


I only called you once
looking for context
but my concern was ever that our reflections

would be wide rather than deep
scarcely a great depression, simply a navel-high

spirit level
a void that comes to your knees

& ROUNDED FORMS (O MERCY)

... a painting hanging on a piece of red
and yellow string that was full of locusts
wearing gold coronets,
with men’s faces and women’s hair,
crawling out of a pit onto scorched grass,
and the sea in the distance,
and the sky above was the colour of oxbood,
and the locusts, clad in armour,
were killing each other
with swipes of their tails ...

And I was thinking of you as a kind of blue deer
and imagining the version of forest
that image would demand

the cytokinins and auxin

a painting, hanging
on a piece of red and yellow string



27.46      Salvador Espriu
               read in English language translation
               by Jon Auman ...


We shall speak the truth,
without end,
for the honor of serving,
under the foot of all.

We loathe great bellies
and great words,
the obscene showiness of gold,
the poorly dealt cards of luck,
the thick smoke of incense
set before the powerful.

Now the land of the mighty is vile
and grovels in hatred like a dog,
barking far off,
nearby enduring the stick,
beyond the mire
pursuing paths of death.

With a song, in the dark we erect
tall dream walls
to protect us from the uproar.

At night the rustle 
of many fountains comes: 
we are closing the doors on fear. 



30.18       Lucy Mercer
                
reads ‘The Rustle of Many
               Fountains Comes,’ a commissioned
               response to Espriu’s reading ...
                

Spectacles are the not the issue. We want more spectacles, not less. Through them our dreams make kindling for the conflagration of quantification.

Our spectacles come from our composite bodies and imaginations.They try to cut these from us. They do this because they have no dreams. They cannot read, see or hear as we understand reading, seeing or hearing. You do not need eyes or ears to read.

Come with me speaking now as if to nobody at all, come with me as we are all nobody, we are spirits going to stand outside the honeycombed windows of the mansion. We will squash our faces against these windows and frighten the occupants.

As we read through these windows, this a sad life for them. They live in fear, without a language to bring the unlike things of the world together. They play with flags and with invisible numbers, but these things mean nothing to them, as they mean nothing to us.They measure, but what are they measuring? They are measuring how long it could be before their houses and things are taken away.

It will not be long before their houses and things are taken away.

We are peasants and serfs, as our ancestors also were. We have our composite bodies and imaginations.We have had enough.

Fear is not the issue.With fear an expansiveness comes, a spreading cloud of possibility whose uncanny shadow moves over the land. Within this obscurity we find a clearness that is brighter than clarity. We can see them as they are, as we can see ourselves. We see ourselves are more than ourselves.

As in a dark screen. No stopwatch, but a lilac ferris wheel that always turns with the always-increasing numbers. Here there is no night, though many spirits are tapping their sighs into the wheel’s turning lights as skyscrapers’ shadows struggle to put on their tall coats and run out into the fields, where birds like sparks are flying out of the complicated bushes into the dayless air as there is no day here, though leaves still blow across the crossroads where crowds of children move stickly back and forth into the scudding foam of adulthood. This is the formless face of the beginning.

Press your faces into the glass as if it were the softest pillow. They can see us now. They are afraid of us. There are as many of us as leaves, as droplets of rain, as hailstones. Through us the fountains of the world to come will be symbols of the indefinable.


33.55      Ona Balló Pedragosa
               
reads Joan Brossa’s ‘saltamartí’ / ‘Tumbler’ ...


A doll
that has a
weight in its base and that
tipped from its vertical
position, rights itself
again.

The people.


34.47      Agustí Bartra,   
               read in English language translation
               by Jon Auman ... 


The walls!
The walls!

The wall on which I leave my edict
in words that belong
to nobody and to all of us.

They call me Agustí;
Bartra is my family name,
a child of lightning
and unvanquished waiting.

Invisible and known,
I return like a swallow
of thorns and glass.

Oh, let me, gently
alight on your right-hand side,
my Homeland,
and sleep to the sound
of wings and the streets.

I've spoken,
and I won't sleep.


37.17        Aidan Moffat
               sings a variation on the traditional
               Scottish bothy ballad, ‘I’m a Working Man’ ... 


I'm a working man, as you can see
You'll find an honest lad in me
I'm never nasty
Never proud
I never shout the odds too loud

I never spend what I've no got
I've barely got a pissin' pot
But day and night,
through thick and thin
I'm working life out to keep life in


              [ & on to fade ... ]


39.50      Francesc Vallverdú
               read in English language translation
               by Jon Auman ...
                

“Overall mission. God and you.”
Pick a topic: subsistence income.

“Brethren, think of the afterlife,
think that there, all your sorrows ... ”

A man is locked up in a dungeon,
his body battered ...

“ ... They will get their reward.”

Tear the green packet:
400 pesetas?

Wife, mother and three children,
goes without saying, plenty of bread.

“Material goods are not important.”

“God will talk to you.
Overall mission.”

The barracks are not watertight, 
a pair of eyes in the dark 
look at the ceiling. 

“God, and you.” 

“Brethren, life is a cross.” 

 ... The house of 
a bountiful and great man, 
a former palace, all upholstered, 
four bathrooms, 
gardens and servants in uniforms. 

The woman of the house 
gives to charity 

“ ... but it will be 
easier for a camel to enter ...” 

The lady feels 
qualms and her husband laughs. 

Father Ignasi rushes to calm her, 

“The thing about the camel, Madame, 
was written for non-donors, 
the alms that you give to the convent 
are worth a piece of heaven.” 

“In peace ...
have you read the newspaper? 
There are so many robberies!” 

“It’s vice, Madame, workers … ” 

400 pesetas, wife, 
mother and three children, 

“I couldn't care less, 
the culprit is Marx.” 

“God, yes ... ” 

Where is he?



43.50      Harmony Holiday
               reads her poem, ‘Here is a Southern Gothic
               that’s True’ ...


Maybe it is time to  devour one another
this grandiose sharing
could be the new
commerce

The brainwave patterns of 40 subjects
were officially coded with
spoken words and silent thoughts

A violent indoctrination we placated to learn to read

What a boring patience
the one for
    freedom

Here is Jimmy Baldwin in his apron greasing a pan
some landline intervenes an endlessly
ringing
      earth
revelations
  (     I been ‘buked and

The other side of heartbreak is not ambition

        crimson gauze        wrapped in god’s suicide

Some genocide is god’s
    suicide
adjacent and remote
a gory form of favoritism

Shot 44 times
        in the head
they announce     readily
I will not
    dream      only
of     security     and     safety


                [ & on to fade ... ]


50.00      Gabriel Ferrater
               read in English language translation
               by Jon Auman ...
               

Dare to be able to be brave,
and don’t stop—

dare to be able to be old,
for if you have children
a testament will
keep them on a tight reign

Dare to be able to not want
to be testate in a world that is coming

If you have excess children,
arrange a war

Dare to be able
to employ immigrant workers

They will use your
wages to buy vinegary wine
that will rot their
teeth in three years’ time

Fear not: you yourself
take the opium of the rich

(opium you get
                 from Scotland and from Rome)

Dare to be able to have
enemies on your payroll

You, new boy,
have faith in the coming years

You’ll have plenty
of time to make Virgilian friends
that will bequeath
you Aeneids to save.

Dare to be able to
become an august personage,
when you have time.

And today, Octavio, boy,
dare to be able
to slit Cicero’s throat.

Bearded Alfonso, emperor of Spain,
cousin of a Saint,
and yourself a Sage,
take note, wiser men than you
will come to write history,
and brand you a bad king:
you have lost them a dirty battle
that they ventured to make their own.

Take note, general,
a homeland ventures
to place great hopes in you.

No, don't dare
to be able to lose battles.

Although you
don't need to win all of them.

If you have napalm
to spread on Northern fields,
dare to be able
to lose wars in the South.




54.50      Stanley Schtinter 
               
reads Joan Brossa’s ‘Sumari Astral’ /
               ‘Astral Summary’ (translated exclusively
               for this broadcast by Cameron Griffiths);
               parts I and II (of III) 


        I.

In human form
and inhabited by language,
I roll the dice
and open the books.
No one dances with conviction.
Arms are raised only
to strike with hands,
not to write any sign.
In the details of the fire, I see
the resemblance of a face.
Each steps on the next one’s feet.
The fruit is peeled but not eaten.
The flags are the colour of chaos,
and the snake is the love of the living.
The salt does not preserve the sea,
nor do the letters fit the work.
The proof is that power forms the only centre
and the world produces artifices
to support its own conclusions (and means
of speculation), which should be abandoned.
The strength of rocks is in not thinking.

I write signs and letters
on ox skin.

Bring to mind the earth,
the sky and the water
and throw sand on a mirror
to look at its capricious forms
or to draw in it a letter.

Year after year,
I scratch at the earth with my nails
so I can cut out the shadow
ahead of me
and penetrate the roots.


        II.


Amid hieroglyphics and figures
I shape the egg of the world
on a potter’s wheel.
People sweep evil under the carpet
and stretch out their necks
and stretch out their legs.
Beyond this scene,
I think again
of the way that some horns spiral.
Having seen transformed
a stone into a scorpion,
I no longer confirm nor contradict,
but find myself face-to-face with myself.

And me, who takes care of me?

I am in the middle of an esplanade
but no movement takes me anywhere,
nor does the recourse to some ceremony
prove anything to me.
The only thing I have to do
is imagine great forests
or the smoke from some grass.
But, if you go too far away,
you might not return.
I intend to follow this path
and not let myself be consumed,
night and day,
by the ground that others choose
with no real instinctive force.
I mean to imitate nothing with these clothes
nor do I care to cast a shadow anywhere with a weapon,
because in the name of all things
I see my real name,
and I want to keep secret
 the number of its letters
 and its three initials.


       60.00       

                ENDS





Notes on the Readers & Writers
(in order of appearance) ...

Ona Balló Pedragosa is a programmer and researcher in narrative interbreeding  between music and image. Graduating from Popmeu Fabra University (Barcelona) and Sorbonne (Paris), her dissertation—carried out in collaboration with Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art (INHA)—deals with the musical thinking of composer Carles Santos on Pere Portabella’s film work. She also works professionally as a sound recordist for film, and writes about art and cinema for different media.
        For Price Poetry, Pedragosa reads a quartet of short poems from the Tenement Press publication of Joan Brossa’s El saltamartí / The Tumbler, ‘Preludi,’ ‘Poema,’ ‘El Temps’ and ‘saltamartí.’ These readings were first recorded by Pedragosa for use in an event titled Acció Santos—a  Carles Santos tribute act—featuring Barcelona ’92 Olympian Derek Redmond, Daniel Blumberg, Winstanley Schtinter, Billy Steiger, Tom Wheatley, Magí Canyelles & Maria Mollol Moya. Acció Santos was performed at Café Oto, London, on December 17th, 2019 as a part of a complete retrospective of Pere Portabella’s film works, A WORM’S TALE VIEW IS OFTEN THE TRUE ONE, organised and curated by Schtinter, 2019 to 2020.

Joan Brossa (1919–1998) was born in Barcelona into a family of artisans. He began writing when he was mobilised in the Spanish Civil War and, following an introduction to surrealism by way of the friendship and influence of Joan Miró and Joan Prats, would fuse political engagement and aesthetic experiment through sonnets, odes, theatre, sculpture and screenplay within a neo-surrealist framework. Brossa founded the magazine Dau al Set in 1948 and, during the fifties and sixties, his poetry was increasingly informed by collectivist concerns. His collection El saltamartí (1963) presented a synthesis of themes both political and social, and the subsequent publication of Poesia Rasa (1970), Poemes de seny i cabell (1977), Rua de llibres (1980)—and the six volumes of Poesia escénica (published between 1973 and 1983)—saw Brossa stake his place as a central figure in contemporary Catalan literature. A first ever English language translation of Brossa’s El saltamartí was published by Tenement Press in 2021 (translated from the Catalan by Cameron Griffiths).

Jon Auman is a writer renting in Brooklyn.
        For Price Poetry, Auman acts as the compere, reading English language iteratations of the original festival performances recorded exclusively for this broadcast.

Lucy Mercer’s first collection is Emblem (Prototype, 2022). Mercer was awarded the inaugural White Review Poet's Prize, and teaches creative writing at Goldsmiths.
        For Price Poetry, Mercer reads the title poem from Emblem and a new work written in response to Salvador Espriu’s contribution to the festival’s proceedings, ‘The Rustle of Many Fountains Comes.’

Joan Oliver (1899-1986) was also known by the name of Pere Quart, a pseudonym for his poetic works. He was a poet, playwright, narrator, translator and journalist, Oliver is regarded as one of the five major twentieth-century Catalan poets, and the most original of all. His first collection of poems, Les decapitacions / The Decapitations (1934) is a harbinger of the nature of his subsequent poetry—agile, anecdotal and drawn to realism—reflecting the traumatic experiences of the Spanish civil war and exile, revealing a desolate and sceptical vision of the world. Born into a bourgeois family of industrialists, and a co-founder with Francesc Trabal and Armand Obiols of the Grup de Sabadell (the Sabadell Group), his style as a writer was marked by his irony against conventionalism. As a translator, he received, in the 1950s, the Prize of the President of the Republic of France for his translation of Molière's The Misanthrope. In 1970, he was conceded the Award of Honour in Catalan letters, while in the 1980s he received the City of Barcelona prize, the Josep Maria de Sagarra prize for translation, and the Generalitat (Autonomous Government) of Catalonia prize for poetry. True to his non-conformist and critical stands, he rejected the Sant Jordi Cross of the Generalitat.

Stephen Watts was born in London in 1952 (of partly Swiss-Italian heritage), where he still lives and works in Whitechapel. He has published seven books of poetry—The Lava’s Curl (Grimaldi Press, 1990); Gramsci & Caruso (Periplum, 2004, with Czech translation by Petr Mikeš, reissued by Mille Gru, 2014, with Italian translation by Cristina Viti); The Blue Bag (Aark Arts, 2004); Mountain Language / Lingua di montagna (2008) and Journey Across Breath / Tragitto nel respiro (2011, both published by Hearing Eye, with Italian translations by Cristina Viti); Ancient Sunlight (Enitharmon, 2014, reprinted ‘20), and Republic of Dogs / Republic of Birds (Test Centre, 2016; with a new edition by Prototype, 2020). Watts has also edited several anthologies, including Houses & Fish, a book of drawings with writing by 4 & 5 year olds (Parrot Press, 1991); Voices of Conscience (an international anthology of censored poets, Iron Press, 1995); Mother Tongues (a special issue of Modern Poetry in Translation, 2001), and Music While Drowning (an anthology of German Expressionist poems that accompanied an exhibition at the Tate Modern in London, Tate Publishing, 2003). His numerous translations and co-translations include books of modern Kurdish, Georgian and British Bangladeshi Poetry as well as volumes by A.N. Stencl, Meta Kušar, Amarjit Chandan, Adnan al-Sayegh, Golan Haji and Ziba Karbassi (from Yiddish, Slovenian, Punjabi, Arabic, Persian). He has also curated bilingual readings at several exhibitions (including Emil Nolde, Joan Miró, Arshile Gorky, Renato Guttuso and Francisco Toledo). Watts has worked in schools and hospitals as a writer on issues of well-being and creativity. The Republics, a film directed by Huw Wahl and based on Watts’ book Republic of Dogs / Republic of Birds premiered in 2020. Since 1980, Watts has compiled an ongoing Bibliography of Modern Poetry in English Translation.
        For Price Poetry, Watts reads his poem ‘I am a Film’ (an outake first recorded by Wahl for inclusion in his collaboration with Watts, The Republics).

Diamanda La Berge Dramm grew up in Amsterdam, the Netherlands playing the violin since the age of four. Growing up among the leading figures of the Dutch classical, avant-garde and improvisation scene, her own concerts reflect all of these elements. In 2018 she was the first ever string soloist to win the Dutch Classical Talent Tour & Award. Diamanda studied at New England Conservatory and at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague. Recent performances include solo concerts with the Metropole Orchestra, and an Indonesia tour giving workshops and concerts. In 2020, Dramm was in residence at Musikfest Bremen as winner of the Deutschlandfunk Förderungspeis. Dramm is a founding member of Splendor, a collective of 50 artists in Amsterdam who co-run a working space and concert hall.
        For Price Poetry, Dramm reads Dominic J. Jaeckle’s ‘March 1st (Mercè Rodoreda)’—as excerpted from Jaeckle’s 36 Exposures.

Dominic J. Jaeckle is a writer, editor and broadcaster. Jaeckle curates and collates the irregular magazine Hotel and its adjacent projects, and runs a minor publisher, Tenement Press. Jaeckle’s first collection, 36 Exposures (A Basdartised Roll of Film), was published by Dostoyevsky Wannabe in 2021; Magnolia or Redbud: Flowers for Laura Lee is forthcoming through Jaeckle’s own imprint for experiments and collaborations, John Cassavetes.

Salvador Espriu
(1913-1985) is one of Catalonia's most significant post-war writers and an outstanding poet. Although he first became known as a narrator, his relatively later incursion into poetry was no obstacle to his achieving swift recognition as a poet, not only within the sphere of Catalan letters but also internationally. He also played an important part in the revitalisation of Catalan theatre. He published novels, El Doctor Rip (1931) and Laia (1932); collections of stories, Aspectes (1934), Ariadna al laberint grotesc / Ariadna in the Grotesque Labyrinth (1935), Miratge a Citerea / Mirage in Citerea (1935), Litizia i altres proses / Litizia and Other Prose (1937); and works which led to his being considered the most original Catalan narrator of the post-Noucentisme (the turn-of-the-century cultural and political movement in Catalonia). Amongst his published collections of poetry are Cementiri de Sinera / Sinera Cemetery (1946); Les hores / The Hours (1952); El caminant i el mur / The Wanderer and the Wall (1954); Final del laberint / The End of the Labyrinth (1955); Les cançons d'Ariadna / The Songs of Ariadna (1949); La pell de brau / The Hide of the Bull (1960); Llibre de Sinera / The Book of Sinera (1963; and Setmana Santa / Holy Week (1971). He revised the entirety of his work with the aim of creating a unified corpus. Translated into many languages, Espriu’s name frequently appears amongst those proposed as Nobel laureates. He received the Award of Honour in Catalan Letters in 1972, the City of Barcelona Gold Medal and that of the Generalitat (Autonomous Government of Catalonia) in 1980. He was given honorary doctorates by the universities of Barcelona and Toulouse (Llenguadoc). In 1982, he was awarded but declined to accept the Spanish distinction, the Cross of Alphonse the Wise, because of his civic stand with respect to Catalonia. 

Agustí Bartra
(1908-1982) was a poet, novelist, translator and playwright, one of several writers who had to go into exile because of the Spanish Civil War. In 1940, with the writer Anna Murià, he settled in Mexico where he worked as a translator. During this period he received grants that enabled him to make several trips to the United States, which he combined with intense literary activity, producing for example Antologia de la lírica nord-americana / Anthology of American Poetry (1951). He returned to Catalonia in 1970 and went to live in Terrassa. Outstanding among his works are the novel Crist de 200.000 braços / Christ of 200,000 Arms (1968) in which he describes the collective experience of the concentration camps, and his book of poems entitled Ecce homo (1968), which reflects his personal cosmology through the four elements: earth, fire, air and water. Bartra's poetry has traditionally been compared with that of Walt Whitman, but he also followed in the footsteps of German Romantic poets such as Novalis, Hölderlin and Rilke. The Generalitat (Government) of Catalonia rendered homage to Bartra and his work by awarding him the Creu de Sant Jordi (Saint George Cross).

Aidan Moffat
from Falkirk, Scotland, has been writing and recording music since 1996, with ten years at the front of Arab Strap, a few instrumental records as L. Pierre, some solo albums, and many collaborations. His 2011 album with Bill Wells, Everything’s Getting Older, won the inaugural Scottish Album Of The Year Award; his children’s book, The Lavender Blue Dress, was published in 2014 and he made a film about folk music with award-winning director Paul Fegan, Where You’re Meant To Be. Moffat always wanted to live in Glasgow, has done since 1999, and continues to write, record and play both alone, in collaboration, and with Arab Strap.
        For Price Poetry, Moffat sings a variation on the Bothy Ballad ‘I’m a Working Man,’ recorded live on the banks of Loch Ness in Drumnadrochit Village Hall.

Francesc Vallverdú (1935-2014) was a poet, sociolinguist, literary critique and translator. He worked as a chief editor and editorial consultant. He is considered one of the central poets of the Catalan social realism movement in poetry, with titles such as Com llances (1961), awarded the Joan Salvat-Papasseit, Cada paraula un vidre (1968), awarded the Carles Riba, Somni, insomni (1971), Retorn a Bílbilis (1974), awarded the Ausiàs March from Gandia, Leviatan (1984), Encalçar el vent (1995), and many more. He also introduced sociolinguistics into the Catalan speaking territories, with works such as L'escriptor català i el problema de la llengua (1968), Dues llengües: dues funcions? (1970), El fet lingüístic com a fet social (1973), awarded the Octubre-Joan Fuster, and L'ús del català: un futur controvertit (1990), among others. In 2009 he published his complete poetic works, Temps sense treva. He worked as linguistic consultant at the Corporació Catalana de Ràdio i Televisió [Catalan national radio & TV] (1985-2006) and at the Gran Larousse català (1987-1993). He was manager of the Enciclopèdia de la llengua catalana (1999-2002)—one of the founders of the Grup Català de Sociolingüística [Catalan group for sociolinguistics]—and chief editor of its yearbook, Treballs de Sociolingüística catalana (1977-2002).

Harmony Holiday
—born in Waterloo, Iowa—is a poet and choreographer. The daughter of Northern Soul singer-songwriter Jimmy Holiday, her father died when she was five, and she and her mother moved to Los Angeles. Holiday earned a BA in rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley and an MFA at Columbia University. She is the author of Negro League Baseball (2011), winner of the Fence Books Motherwell Prize; a “dos-a-dos” book featuring poetry, letters, and essays, Go Find Your Father / A Famous Blues (Ricochet Editions, 2013); Hollywood Forever (Fence Books, 2017), which she is turning into an afroballet; and Maafa (Fence Books, 2022). Holiday is currently working on a biography of Abbey Lincoln.
        For Price Poetry, Holiday reads an extract from her collection Maafa under the title ‘Here is a Southern Gothic that’s True.’

Gabriel Ferrater (1922-1972) was a writer and linguist. He produced some of the most significant poetic works in Catalan of the post-war period, with only three collections: Da nuces pueris (1960), Menja't una cama / Eat a Leg (1962), and Teoria dels cossos / Theory of Bodies (1966); these editions were then published as one volume, Les dones i els dies / Women and Days in 1968. Open eroticism and the passage of time are among Ferrater’s constant themes. His poems ‘In memoriam’ and ‘Poema inacabat’ / ‘Unfinished Poem,’ are amongst the most valuable testimonies concerning the Civil War and its consequences. A lecturer in linguistics and literary criticism at the University of Barcelona, he began to write a series of articles on linguistic doctrine in the review Serra d'Or (1969-72) under the title ‘De Causis linguae,’ outstanding amongst which is the draft of a metric theory based on the phonological component of the generative-transformational grammar proposed by Chomsky and Halle. He translated Kafka's The Trial into Catalan and Bloomfield's Language and Chomsky's Cartesian Linguistics.

Cameron Griffiths
studied History and English Literature at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. His poetry has appeared in journals in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. He lives with his family in Spain. Griffiths first translated collection—Joan Brossa’s El saltamartí / The Tumbler—was published by Tenement Press, 2021. See here

Stanley Schtinter
has been described as an ‘artist' by the Daily Mail and as an ‘exorcist' by the Daily Star.
         For Price Poetry, Schtinter reads sections from Joan Brossa’s late three sequence poem, ‘Sumari Astral’ / ‘Astral Summary’ (1998), translated exclusively for this broadcast by Cameron Griffiths.



The archival recordings of Bartra, Oliver (Quart), Espriu,
Brossa, Vallverdú and Ferrater employed in Price Poetry
are excerpted from Pere Portabella’s Poetes Catalans (1970) 
and appear courtesy of Pere Portabella / Films 59, © 2022.

With thanks to Marc Dueñas of the Institut Ramon Llull; 
Adrián Onco of Films 59;
Ed Baxter of Resonance 104.4FM.