Category Archives: Translation ·· Catalan

Barings // Bearings: An Anthology of Women’s Writing in Catalan

Meg Berkobien & María Cristina Hall


Over forty years ago, in the midst of the democratic transition following the death of dictator Francisco Franco, author and activist Montserrat Roig contemplated her duties as an “ésser civic” in a moment of intense cultural and political change:

Escriure en català és una afirmació de supervivència, i no solament literària. Ganes “d’existir” privadament i col·lectivament […] Si tot va bé, escriure en català ja no serà un acte de “salvació” sinó un acte natural, un acte intern i privat que dóna coherència als sentiments i a les frustracions personals.

[To write in Catalan is an affirmation of survival—and not just in literature. A will “to exist” privately and collectively [ . . . ] If everything works out, writing in Catalan will no longer constitute an act of “salvation,” but a natural endeavor, an internal and private act that makes sense of our feelings and personal frustrations.]

For years, communicating in Catalan was an act of witnessing—of lending testimony to an ever-precarious past and present. While this understanding of Catalan as resistance is necessary, Roig contends that mere survival has never—will never—be enough. Instead, a language of the living should reflect the feeling of its people. And perhaps it’s no surprise that this kind of writing is typically coded as feminine.

Read the full text here.


Joan Todó; Meg Berkobien

You’ll follow her into the unkempt garden with its overgrown grass and weeds, the weeping willow twisted into one big tangle, the palm trees drooping, the empty pool filled with brackish tree buds, and you’ll enter the house, the grand entrance hall, moving through hallways while the old woman mutters, like always, that this’ll be the last time, she doesn’t intend to participate in such sinful things, that this never happened when the senyor was a boy and his parents were still around.

Read the full story over at Anomaly.


Blanca Llum Vidal; Meg Berkobien


A staircase with steps and a building staircased and a staircase in the building and some steps where one sits, it’s a house of breaking down to suffer, a suffering that longs to low, to row at love, to row the sea of swollen sea and love tomorrow, a space knotted to time, making space of time in knots, and the cutting knot where one fights who fights with every fight, an abyss that bottoms out in an abyss that’s shoring up the next abyss and a post where one . . .

Read the entire special feature here.


“Death by Dying”

Jenn Díaz; Meg Berkobien ::

War happens to children, too, even though they don’t go off to fight. That’s what my brother knew because he’s older, but that’s not all, he’s also smarter, and I know that because it’s what my mother always says, and it seems like she hardly loves me at all, because my mother says things to annoy me, she says I’m always doing bad things, and maybe she’s right, but if I don’t do them I get bored. My mother says there’s no time to be bored in times of war, but I get bored a lot, and the other day my brother, who’s older and smarter, said, You bored?, and I nodded, and he grabbed my hand and said, Come on, and I went with him, and he said, Over there, and we went to a field where the school used to be, well, the school’s still there, but there aren’t any students, and an empty space stays the same no matter what you call it, a school or whatever you call it, if it’s stayed empty, it’s nothing at all.

Read the full story in the Spring 2017 issue of A Public Space

“The Port”

Llucia Ramis; Megan Berkobien ::

I remember a hedgehog devoured by ants; we found it near the house and wanted to feed it milk from the tetra-brik carton. It was dead by morning. I remember my brother wanted to taste an ant because the Chinese eat them, so he put it in his mouth while it was still alive and spit it out because it stung. I remember my cousin pulled out a dock tire at the pier and that a crab jumped out, she got scared and let go and it crushed the crab, it pushed the guts right out through its mouth, sprtz. Afterward we hurled the body into the water and it began to float. I remember the time I picked up a log and pinched a lizard hiding underneath; I could swear it cried out. We spent some time observing that detached tail, my cousin, brother, and I.

I don’t come here often and these memories have nothing to do with nostalgia.

Read the full story here.

“All the World’s Men”

Llucia Ramis; Megan Berkobien ::

Uncle Joan had a Fiat. The few people who owned cars in Felanitx had to take the others to the warfront at Manacor. The frontlines frightened Uncle Tomeu, Joan’s brother-in-law, and so he offered to accompany him on those trips instead. On the ride there he stood on the door railing so that no one would complain about him taking up a free seat; on the way back, he’d sit next to Uncle Joan, who drove. During one of the trips to Manacor, an airplane passed right over their heads. Uncle Tomeu got spooked and jumped off to take cover. He fell on top of some bushes. He was cloaked in blood and covered in scratches. When he came back to Felantx, everyone asked whether he had been wounded at war.

Read the full story here.