Poeżija u Informazzjoni - Poetry & Information
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  • Norbert Ellul-Vincenti (1994)

    Alphabet of molten metal
    Poeżiji - Achille Mizzi

    The Times,24th November,1994

    What happens when the volcano has erupted and its contents are belched out with the violence of the angry gods. The white-hot, the red-hot molten lava pours down the mountain with a myriad tongues of fire in a fine tracery of black gold - an alphabet of molten metal burnt up upon the earth.
    It is a metaphor that describes the new Achille Mizzi as he appears in the latest collection of poems written between 1991 and 1996. The poems come all untouchably hot and smoking after these six years of sitting astride the volcano, of peering into its depths, six years of pouring, playing violent games with the Maltese alphabet…

    …When the book was launched at the President’s Palace in Valletta, reference was made to an inspired and brilliant summing up to Achille Mizzi’s linguistic dexterity. But Mizzi’s is not simply a question of remembering half-forgotten terms, of being ‘in’ with the vocabulary of artisan skill and trade. A good poet is a wordsmith, fashioning the language and making it fit the work he has in hand, to the extent it is never the same again. When a great poet uses language he changes it forever: it has been marked by genius.

    In the good old days of grand epics and epoch-making scoops, the poet was an unlocker of the word hoard, or keeper/dispenser of the word treasure.

    When Kevin Crosley-Holland, a translator of Old English Beowulf was recently asked about Seamus Heaney’s coming new translation, and whether he felt threatened by the great man, he replied, “There’s a phrase in Beowulf, wordhord onleac. And that means, He unlocked the word hoard. If there is one man capable of doing that who is writing poetry today, then it’s Seamus. That doesn’t mean that one doesn’t feel a twitch of apprehension, but given the alternative of feeling jealousy or admiration, I’ll settle for the latter.”

    Finely put by one poet about another - the divinity talking about itself…

    …Let’s face it, this is a new speak in a new language. It is Maltese as it has never been heard before. And it will never be the same again.