Joan Brossa

by Maurizio Spatola

The great Spanish nay proudly Catalan poet writer and artist Joan Brossa (1919-1998) has given through sixty years an impressive contribution to the research for new languages of expression not only in the field of poetry with daring verbo-visual experiments and the biting irony of his linear poems but also by spreading into the field of the theatre with an impressive series of multifarious works often inspired like most of his works of poetry by the audacious rope-walking of Dadaism and surrealism. A strong opponent to Franco from the earliest times Brossa expressed his opposition to the regime of the Caudillo especially in his Poemes Civils  (Catalan version 1961) some of which were translated into Italian by Adriano Spatola in the first and last issue of the new series of “Malebolge” (1971). With the fall of the regime and the return of Spain to democracy Brossa received the well deserved appreciation of his work not only in his country but also internationally both in Europe and in North and South America. In the early fifties he turned his interests to verbo-visual poetry so much that he came to be considered a pioneer of this kind of research in Spain. A multifarious and prolific writer roaming with hilarious irony through Sapphic odes the theatre and Cabaret design and settings legerdemain and circus performances Joan Brossa has left us an impressive amount of published and unpublished works. One year after his death in 1999 the Fundación Picasso of Malaga celebrated him by a great exhibition of his Poemes Visuales  from whose catalogue are wholly reproduced three of the works hereunder following. The first three are taken from the book Poesie & Visuali  (Edizioni Tam Tam 1987) wholly reproduced together with texts by and about Brossa in and the verse Poemi Civili are taken from the above quoted issue of “Malebolge”. For a more exhaustive bibliography see the profile of Catalan poetry on Wikipedia . From 2012 the enourmous legacy of Joan Brossa’s works is entrusted to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA) to be studied and exhibited.

Brossa’s poems published in Italy