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BernardoAtxaga Twopoems TranslatedbyMargaretJull Costa
Bernardo Atxaga is the foremost contemporary Basque poet andnovelist. Hestudiedeconomics, thendidvarious jobs to support his writing: teacher of Basque, bookseller, etc. He became a full-time writer in1980. He has writtennovels, children’sliterature, poetry, andsonglyrics, andhisworkhas beentranslatedintomanylanguages. Hehasalwayswrittenin Basque, butalsowritesinSpanish, usuallytranslatinghisown work. Althoughthepolitical situationintheBasquecountry inevitablyimpinges onhis work, inparticular inhis novels, The Lone Man and The Lone Woman, Atxaga insists on the universalityof literature. Bernardo Atxaga wrote the first of these twopoems as a prologue to the British edition of Obabakoak, the first of hisnovelstobepublishedinEnglishtranslation. Thebookis a collectionof loosely connectedstories, some of whichare basedinObaba, theimaginaryBasquevillagetowhichAtxaga returns in his latest novel, The Accordionist’s Son, to be publishedlaterthisyearbyHarvill Secker.