He says that poetry is like water. If he doesn’t drink it, he is thirsty all day. “It is the alchemy of literature.” That’s why there are so many books of poetry in Maria del Mar Bonet’s house. They are with those of the philosophies of the world in what used to be the dining room, now her study, next to an interior patio – in Mallorca they call it a corral – through which beautiful light enters. She has lived in Ses Salines for eight or nine years. She had a hard time letting go of books when moving. She doesn’t throw them away. Sometimes she leaves them on the street and they disappear right away. Or she donates them to second-hand bookstores. Here are the ones she loves the most, by topic, in order. She does this – picks up any one, this one – and thinks: “That’s great, I found just the one I needed.” Then he reads it. From morning to night, if he likes it a lot, while he eats and has dinner. He doesn’t let him. He reads anywhere: trains, boats, cars, now quite a bit on airplanes, and so he doesn’t think about what he does.
As a child, with her brother Joan Ramon, she opened the boxes of books that her father received to review them in the newspaper. Balearics ; Joan was a journalist and writer (and a fan of Chekhov, to whose grave she has brought flowers twice). Her mother, Mercè, from the Gràcia neighborhood, had brought from Barcelona anthologies of Catalan poets, novels and Tirant lo Blanc . So her books have always accompanied her, voices that surround her. She reaches them in a thousand ways. She snoops around the library of her reading and writing friends. Or they recommend them to her and she looks for them halfway around the world. Or she discovers them at a bargain fair. In one of Castelló she found Versions and diversions of Octavio Paz, with whom she is “absolutely in love.” On the first page she puts who she belonged to. Bonet wrote down her name below it and the message: “I bought it after you.” She likes vivid books. She underlines phrases and, as she rereads them, she would underline others.
The prying gaze
The whole house
Pick up any book and it’s the one you needed
Poetry, philosophies, ancient world, art, popular music, atlas, ‘rondalles mallorquines’
‘Pare’ Ginard, Joan Alcover, Octavio Paz
Maria Antònia Salvà, Rosalía de Castro, Joan Mascaró
On the table
‘Antologia poètica’ by Miquel Costa i Llobera, edition by M. Antònia Perelló Femenia (Biblioteca d’Escriptors Mallorquins), ‘Les Poètes de la Méditerranée’ (Gallimard)
‘Maria del Mar Bonet, intensely’, by Jordi Bianciotto, and ‘La cuina de mumare’ (Ara Llibres)
If it weren’t soaked stop Ginard – who has his own corner – could not write songs. It is worth reading all of Costa i Llobera, he says; And at first I found it lavish, too bombastic. Now he enjoys it; The pi of Formentor it’s extraordinary. Also Desolation and The Balanguera , by Joan Alcover. She went to Joan Alcover High School and they never explained to her who she was. A few meters away is the Ramon Llull, and neither: “If they don’t teach poetry in schools, we are lost.” Your dining is important. And Rilke, and Dickinson, and Montale. She learned French as a child, and it would be the ultimate for her to know how to read the German poets in her language. There are books by Robert Graves, by Maria Antònia Salvà, “very cultured, they revered her, we must recover her”; and Rosalía de Castro. Some show the cover of it, like The creation of faith , by Joan Mascaró. A Sanskrit translator, he taught Eastern philosophies, even the Beatles consulted him. It is a mortal sin for a Majorcan not to have read it, Bonet chides me.
In a room that overlooks the quiet street of the town, under a collection of siurells, There is the small library dedicated to the ancient world, with Greek and Roman mythologies. On a stool, the complete works of Oscar Wilde exquisitely translated by Julio Gómez de la Serna. He saw the book in a rural hotel and asked the owner if she would sell it to him. The woman gave it to him.
In a small room he keeps his instruments, mountains of guitars. He has a habit of recycling, and the recovered shelf next to a fireplace houses popular music and essential volumes of the culture of the Catalan Countries.
“Everything emerges little by little, and the love for poetry is not that it begins, it is that it is; like life”
Upstairs, in his workshop, are those of art, from prehistory to today. Bonet studied in La Massana, he paints regularly; plants, or a sketch of the corral , or a marina in Menorca. Give his paintings to friends. He loves atlases of all kinds. And the guides, and the travel books; He has spent hours in the Altaïr. In some way, libraries are also atlases in which each space has its map: “Everything emerges little by little, and the love for poetry is not that it begins, it is that it is; like life.”
On a chair in the entrance, the latest acquisitions. And next to it, the Mallorcan rondalles . He has all of them. A neighbor, Noreta, told them. She lived below the house, in that old Palma between Montision and Sant Francesc, behind the cathedral. Bonet and Gabriel Janer Manila dedicated an album to the rondalles titled Bon voyage easy la cadernera . They begin like this, “això era i no era”. Like poetry, like life.