Antoine Cassar

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Antoine Cassar
Born1978
Camden, London, United Kingdom
OccupationPoet, translator
NationalityMaltese
CitizenshipMalta, United Kingdom
Period2007-present
GenrePoetry
Notable worksMosaics poems

Antoine Christopher A. F. Cassar (born 1978 in London)[1] is a Maltese poet and translator. In September 2009, his multilingual poem Merħba was the Grand Prize winner of the United Planet Writing Contest.[2]


Personal life[edit]

Cassar was born in London to Maltese parents. He lived in Spain, Italy, and Luxembourg.[3]

Works[edit]

Cassar's work deals with themes of language, maps and borders.[4]

Passport (2009) is a poem published in a mock-passport form addressing themes of migration and nationhood. It was translated into nine languages, with proceeds donated to refugee charities around the world.[3][5]

Mosaics poems[edit]

Cassar's mużajki or mosaics poems[6] combine a minimum of five languages, mainly English, French, Italian, Maltese and Spanish, often in the form of a Petrarchan sonnet. These poems, the first series of which was published in July 2007 in the anthology Ħbula Stirati (Tightropes),[7] engage in the braiding of words and sounds in the different languages used whilst maintaining a coherent rhythm and logical poetic sequence. Among the main themes explored by the mosaics are the vanity and futility of life, love unrequited or fulfilled, the absurdity of colonialism and its after-effects, and the at once exhilarating and disorienting feeling of variety itself.[8] The following is a stanza from his sonnet C'est la vie[9]

Original

Run, rabbit, run, run, run, from the womb to the tomb,
de cuatro a dos a tres, del río a la mar,
play the fool, suffer school, żunżana ddur iddur,
engage-toi, perds ta foi, le regole imparar, [...]

English translation

Run, rabbit, run, run, run, from the womb to the tomb,
from four to two to three, from the river to the sea,
play the fool, suffer school, the wasp goes round and round,
get involved, lose your faith, learn the rules, [...]

As Marija Grech explains, "...the deeper significance of these poems may be said to lie not simply in the more traditional meaning of the individual words or verses, but more specifically in the play with sound that the movement from one language to another generates and exploits. As the poet explains, 'the mosaics are designed not so much to be read but to be heard'." Cassar, on an interview,[10] describes the meaning of the "multiple levels" on his poetry: "How often does one read or listen to a poem and understand it completely? In my reading experience, I find that if a poem offers all its connotation, undertones and beauty at one go, its taste will soon be forgotten... The multiple levels of a poem should pique and stir the readers' curiosity, slowly but surely bringing them deeper into the text."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "UK Birth Records". Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  2. ^ unitedplanet.org
  3. ^ a b Barekat, Houman (25 April 2018). "Dancing Doubles". Times Literary Supplement. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Meet an Award-Winning Maltese Poet: Walking Through Memories with Antoine Cassar". The London Book Fair. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Passaport - The Author". Passaport. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  6. ^ Marija Grech, "Mosaics: A symphony of multilingual poetry", The Daily Star (Kuwait), 2007
  7. ^ Cassar on Ħbula Stirati
  8. ^ Mużajk website
  9. ^ "Antoine Cassar, "Mosaics — Multilingual Sonnets"". Archived from the original on 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2008-02-26.
  10. ^ Marija Grech, ibidem

External links[edit]