Miquel Martí i Pol

Inspirational 20th Century Catalan Poet

Miquel Martí i Pol was a writer and translator and one of the most popular poets in the Catalan language of the 20th century in part due to his 1978 anthology Estimada Marta.

He was born into a poor family in Roda de Ter in the comarca of Osona on March 19th 1929 and was only at school until the age of 14, when he began working in the Tecla Sala factory.

Martí i Pol began writing poetry in Spanish at the age of 15 and a couple of years later took his first tentative steps in Catalan, which in 1946 during the repressive early years of the Franco regime was quite a challenge.

He published his first poems in Catalan in 1948, the same year as he suffered an attack of tubercolosis, and early on the influence of contemporary Catalan poets such as Joan Vinyoli, Blai Bonet, Albert Manent and Salvador Espriu began to be clear.

In 1953, Martí i Pol won the Premi Óssa Menor for the collection Paraules al vent, which was published a year later, and his career was fully underway.

In 1956, he married Dolors Freixa with whom he had a daughter and a son, and participated in Catalan cultural activities during the Franco years, often in collaboration with PSUC, the Catalan communist party.

He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1969 and real recognition came in the 1970s with publication of L'arrel i l'escorça (1975), El llarg viatge (1976), Amb vidres a la sang (1977) and the hugely popular Estimada Marta (1978).

His wife Dolors died in 1984 and this loss and the effects of his multiple sclerosis meant that his work in the last two decades of his life was darker and more introspective.

Many of Martí i Pol's poems have been put to music, most notably by Lluís Llach, who released Un pont de mar blava (1993), Rar (1994), Porrera-Món (1995) and Temps de revoltes (2000) all with music by Llach and words by Martí i Pol.

In 1997 he was proposed for the Nobel Prize for Literature and in 1999 he was awarded the Medalla d'Or de la Generalitat de Catalunya.

Miquel Martí i Pol in Vic on November 11th 2003 and he is widely considered as one of the most influential poets in Catalan of the second half of the 20th century.


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