a new publication from Inizjamed

Bliet (u Miti) - poeżija u proża*


[Cities (and Myths) – poetry and prose]


Articles by Mark Anthony Falzon, Adrian Grima, Miro Villar ٠ Poems by John Betts, Stanley Borg, Norbert Bugeja, Kenneth Busuttil, Stephen Cachia, Ray Camilleri, Victor Fenech, Sergio Grech, Maria Grech Ganado, Simone Inguanez, Immanuel Mifsud, Ġorġ Peresso, Natasha Turner, Leslie Vassallo, Karen Vella ٠ Guest Poet: Miro Villar ٠ Short stories by Stephen Cachia, Adrian Grima and Henry Holland ٠ Translations by Norbert Bugeja, Stephen Cachia, Jacqui Zammit


Published by Inizjamed 2002 ٠ Editor: Adrian Grima ٠ Cover design: Adrian Mamo ٠ Painting on the cover: William Azzopardi ٠ ISBN: 99932-620-2-1 Format: 92 pages (A5) ٠ Price Lm1.95


The publication of the book Bliet (u Miti) is an important element in the artistic project “Bliet (u Miti)” that started in April 2002 and is run by Inizjamed. The project aims to revisit the Maltese “imaginary,” the picture that the Maltese have painted of themselves while in the process of “creating” themselves as a nation.


Every major project run by Inizjamed has a publication to go with it: this allows us to “document” our work and to analyse where we are heading. This is particularly important in an organization like ours that is run completely on a voluntary basis, with all the enthusiasm and inconsistencies that both grace and paralyse voluntary work.


The book, which is all in Maltese (except for two poems in Galician), includes short, previously unpublished articles that deal with the topical issue of Malta’s cultural identity and the way that it has been constructed and a number of literary works by some of Malta’s most interesting writers. These include established authors like Victor Fenech, Ġorġ Peresso, Immanuel Mifsud, and Maria Grech Ganado; lesser-known but equally interesting writers like Leslie Vassallo and Henry Holland, and a host of young authors, from Simone Inguanez and Norbert Bugeja, to Stanley Borg and Karen Vella.


One of the more daring works is a short story called “Il-Baqta” by Henry Holland (in picture). Holland published a book of excellent poetry called L-Artist tat-Trapiż which has largely been ignored in 1996; a number of short stories have been published in Maltese by Inizjamed and one appeared in translation in Italy (“I Topi”) in a magazine called Narrasud. “Il-Baqta”, written some eight years ago, tells the story of how two violent men bully their mate known by the nickname “Il-Baqta” (which literally means “curd, curdled milk”) both physically and psychologically. It’s a captivating snapshot of violence and the effects it has on its victims; but it is also a dramatic story of loneliness and disorientation.


Like all of Holland’s works, this is a profoundly serious work that has waited for eight years to be published perhaps because of the obscene, violent language that captures so vividly the violence on which the relationships between the various characters is based.


Our decision to read “Il-Baqta” in public and to publish it in Bliet (u Miti) was based on a profound respect for the extraordinary literary qualities of the story and for the boldness of the language. Before reading it in public during the literary performance held in the maritime city of Birgu on Thursday, 29 August, we asked the audience to judge the piece only after having listened to the all of it. It has been well-received. In an interview with Henry Holland that will be published soon on Babel Med, Henry Holland points out that the publication of “Il-Baqta” with its “vulgar” language, follows that of Ġużè Stagno’s novel Inbid ta’ Kuljum (Minima, 2001), Karl Schembri’s short story collection Taħt il-Kappa tax-Xemx (Minima, 2002) and Alfred Sant’s novel La Bidu La Tmiem (PEG, 2001). Holland’s choice of language, however, is by far the most daring.


This publication also includes an article and poems by Miro Villar (b. 1965), a young literary critic who is one of Galicia’s leading poets. In 1998 Miro Villar won the first edition of the Premio Tivoli Europa Giovani for books of poetry published in Europe by poets under the age of 35. Two of the poems in this volume appear in their original in Galician while the others appear in Maltese translation. The article called “Miti tal-Galizja” (“Galician Myths”) deals with the important presence of myths in Galician culture and with the myths surrounding two places which Villar feels particularly close to: A Costa da Morte (The Coast of Death) and Fisterra (The End or Edge of the Earth); these places and the myths surrounding them feature prominently in his rich poetry.



Many of the works in this collection will be read on Super One Television in a new one-hour programme of jazz, literature and visual arts between 11.00pm and midnight. The programme called “Dizzy” is produced by Claudette Pace.


For a copy of the book Bliet (u Miti) (in Maltese) please write to inizjamed@maltaforum.org.


Adrian Grima



*Special Thanks to http://www.babelmed.net for allowing me to reproduce this article.