Marçal, Maria Mercé 1952-1998

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MARÇAL, Maria Mercé 1952-1998

PERSONAL: Born 1952, in Ivars d'Urgell, Spain; died July 5, 1998; children: one daughter. Education: Attended University of Barcelona.

CAREER: Poet, writer, and teacher. Insitute Rubió I Ors, Sant Boi de Llobrega, Spain, professor of Catalan language.

AWARDS, HONORS: Carles Riba prize, 1976, for Cau de Llunes; Premi Carlemany, 1994, and Premi Crítica Serra d'or, 1995, both for Le Passió segons Renée Vivien.

WRITINGS:

Cau de Llunes, Aymà (Barcelona, Spain), 1977.

Bruixa de dol, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1979.

Sal Oberta, Edicions del Mall (Barcelona, Spain), 1982.

Terra de Mai, Cingle (Valencia, Spain), 1982

La Germana l'Estrangera, Edicions del Mall (Barcelona, Spain), 1985.

Llengua Abolida: 1973-1988, E. Climent (Valencia, Spain), 1989.

Le Passió segons Renée Vivien (novel), Enciclopèdia Catalana (Barcelona, Spain), 1994.

Raó del Cos, prologue by Pere Gimferrer, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 2000.

Contraban de Llum: Antologia Poètica, Pora (Barcelona, Spain), 2001.

Contributor to periodicals.

SIDELIGHTS: The Spanish poet Maria Mercé Marçal, wrote several books of poetry, published widely in literary journals, and also authored a novel. Marçal wrote in Catalan, a romance language spoken throughout Spain and also in Andorra, France, and Italy's Sardinia island. Although her poems have been translated into English, Marçal received little widespread critical notice, perhaps because of poor distribution of her work. Her first book of poems, Cau de Llunes, won the Carles Riba prize, named after the Catalan poet. The poems focus on the themes of love, social and political issues, and feminism. In her 1979 collection of poetry, Bruixa de Dol, Marçal experiments with various forms of poetry, from formal sonnets to more playful childlike poetry. Writing a review of the volume in World Literature Today, Kathleen McNerney noted, "Images of witches, fairies, and other marginal beings pervade the sensual, feminist poetry. Themes of eroticism, solidarity, and rebellion dominate in these works of great lyricism, clarity, and straightforwardness."

In her 1982 collection, Terra de Mai, Marçal writes in a medieval style following a six-line, six-stanza verse form. As a parent, Marçal also wrote of motherhood. McNerney, once again writing in World Literature Today, noted that Marçal takes "a fresh and honest look at motherhood." While McNerney pointed out that "Marçal's imageriy is striking and sometimes violent," she also noted, "Tenderness is also a constant, as is fear."

Marçal also authored the novel Le Passió segons Renée Vivien. "Marçal's novelized biography of the poet Pauline Mary Tarn … is itself pure lyricism," wrote McNerney in her World Literature Today review. McNernry goes on to call the book, which won two prestigious literary prizes, "a masterpiece, difficult to read for its richness, complexity, and erudition, and absolutely worth the effort."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

World Literature Today, winter, 1987, K. McNerney, review of La Germana l'Estrangera, pp. 889-890; autumn, 1993, K. McNerney, review of Bruixa de Dol, p. 804; winter, 1996, K. McNerney, review of Le Passió segons Renée Vivien, p. 180.*

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