Enric Casasses (Barcelona, 1951), is a poet of unclassifiable oeuvre with its own true voice, a contemporary troubadour, a narrator and playwright, as well as an occasional translator and rescuer of forgotten texts.
An intellectual son of the Barcelona of the waning years of the Franco regime in which he was an active presence in the countercultural milieu, Enric Casasses published his first two volumes of poems, La bragueta encallada (Stuck Fly, 1972) and La cosa aquella (That Thing, 1982), in alternative editions. In 1991 Empúries brought out a second edition of La cosa aquella, this signalling the beginning of recognition by readers and critics alike. He has published twenty-five books of poems to date, and has been awarded prizes for No hi érem (We Weren't There – Critics' Prize, 1993), Calç (Lime – Carles Riba Prize, 1996) and Plaça Raspall (Joan Alcover Prize, 1998), for example.
His poetry imbibes from different founts and follows different trends. Always with his own distinctive orality, Enric Casasses is a great connoisseur of the most widely varying traditions: from troubadour-style to surrealist poetry and the Dada movement, from the Renaissance and the Baroque to underground culture and psychedelia. His verses have been defined, in his own terms, using such formulas as "high-speed poem of 9072 inepic lines". For Uh (1997 and 2007), "poems in prose with nonsense" for Canaris fosforescents (Phosphorescent Canaries, 2001), "free poems" for D'equivocar-se així (On Thus Being Wrong, 1997, and "pseudo-narrative poem in clipped prose" for Que dormim? (Shall We Sleep? 2002).
Translator of Conan Doyle, Nerval and Blake among many other writers, prologue writer for a range of literary works, occasional playwright – his play Do'm (Gimme) was published in 2003 – he has been the instigator, with Edicions del 1984 as his accomplice, behind the recent publication of books by writers otherwise consigned to oblivion, for example Juli Vallmitjana and Eduard Girbal Jaume. Working together with Agnès Prats, he brought out Verdaguer's Perles (Pearls) in 2007. He has also produced three record labels, of which the best known (most renowned) is that produced with Pascal Comelade in 2002, La manera més salvatge (The Wildest Way).
A tireless recital giver, tenacious columnist, with work in anthologies and in translation, Enric Casasses, is the founder of a certain way of writing poetry within the realm of Catalan literature, and of understanding literature. In a text titled "El neguit" (Unease) from the book El poble del costat (Next Village) he says, "I translate the air, interpret fire, read water and write on the land".
In 2012 he was honoured the Premi Nacional de Cultura de Literatura (National Art Award for Literature). He is a member of the Associació d'Escriptors en Llengua Catalana (AELC – Association of Catalan Language Writers).
Web page: Abel Ramon Vidal for AELC.
Translation: Julie Wark.
Photographs: Author's personal files.