Winner of Malta National Book Prize 2018
Shortlisted for European Poet of Freedom 2020
“In his prize-winning cycle of poems called Erbgħin Jum (2017), Antoine Cassar took the strains of love within the (idealised Maltese) family to a whole new level with his heart-wrenching account of domestic strife and violence. This collection, that has touched (and shocked) many readers to the core, challenges the taboos surrounding representations of the family in Maltese poetry.”
Dr Adrian Grima, Think Magazine, 2019
Forty Days is a book-length poem on childhood trauma, depression, and walking as a process of healing. A brutally personal pilgrimage in the cartographies of the past, without compass or walking stick.
Each daytime chapter narrates a walk, in a landscape real or metaphorical, as a means of reflection, a cleansing of the blood, a cultivation of hope, or for the simple, sensual pleasure of movement. Between walks, the nighttime chapters, born of insomnia, interrogate the phantoms of childhood and the shadows they continue to cast in the present.
Madness. Rage. Paranoia. Yet at the same time, each small step leads to lucidity, understanding, and the possibility of redemption.
Edited by Immanuel Mifsud and published by Ede, the book is designed by Marco Scerri, and illustrated with eight ‘stations’ and a map from woodcuts by Steven Scicluna.
Selected ‘days’ and ‘nights’ are published in English on Versopolis. Self-translated, edited by Albert Gatt. With an introductory essay by Dr Adrian Grima.
Sample English booklet available upon request.
The Polish edition, Czterdzieści dni, translated by Zuzanna Gawron (from the English bridge version), was published by IKM in 2020, as one of the books shortlisted for the European Poet of Freedom award.
Fragments of the book were set to music by Marcin Mirowski, and recited by Marcin Miodek for Radio Gdańsk.
The book is available to buy on several online bookshops.
Partial translations in other languages:
Arabic – tr. Ahmad M. Ahmad, in Al-Araby Al-Jadid
French – tr. Elizabeth Grech, in Bacchanales
Galician – tr. Yolanda Castaño, Malta Mediterranean Translation Workshop 2019
Romanian – tr. Marina Tătărâm, Litvest Timișoara 2019 & Poets in Transylvania anthology 2022
Slovenian – tr. Andrej Pleterski, in Wara Settembru, Vilenica 2018
Slovenian – tr. Peter Semolič, in Poiesis
Spanish – tr. Carmen Herrera, in Revista Nayagua
Ukrainian – tr. Ostap Sylvynsky, Lviv Book Forum 2018
— Poetry takes on a new lilt – Lara Calleja in Isles of the Left
— Journey of childhood trauma – Rowna Baldacchino in Times of Malta
— Introductory essay by Dr Adrian Grima on Versopolis
— Il-poeżija tieħu xejra oħra – Lara Calleja f’Isles of the Left
— Għarwien fil-Għeden u mbagħad lil hinn minnu – Kevin Saliba fl-Illum
— Review in Polish by Marcin Świątkowski
— Review in Polish on book blog Przeczytane. Napisane.
— The ache of sincerity – interview with Teo Reljić in MaltaToday
— Live interview with Simona Cassano, Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival 2019
— On poetry as therapy – blogpost written between Day 11 and Night 12
— Intervista pubblika ma’ Dr Adrian Grima – Festival tal-Ktieb fuq il-Kampus 2019
— Nekaj misli o poeziji kot terapiji – Slovenian translation (by Peter Semolič) of On poetry as therapy, in Poiesis
Interviews with Polish translator Zuzanna Gawron:
— Interview by Adam Pluszka for European Poet of Freedom award
— Interview (and a walk in the forest) for the Polish Association of Literary Translators
— Podcast Na Przekład
— Concert-reading at book launch in Studio Solipsis, with Alex Vella Gera (guitar), Adolf Formosa (bass) & Mark ‘Zizza’ Abela (drums)
— Ken Scicluna jaqra Jum 29 u Lejl 30 fuq KwartaKtieb, MaltaToday – Spotify
— Jum 1, Lejl 2 u Jum 7 fuq Maħżen Poeżija
— Jum 9 – Urgence Poésie, Lodève
— Night 4 (fragments) in Maltese, Arabic (Rasha Abbas), English (Astrid Alben), German (Marija Vella) – Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival 2019
— Polish-Maltese Duets, Embassy of Poland in Malta, 2021 – recital of Day 1 in Maltese (Paul Portelli) and Polish (Monika Jarosińska), plus 8 no-border haiku and Maltese translation of Szymborska’s poems Some people like poetry & Psalm
— Noc 0 in Magazyn Pismo
— Noc 2, Dzień 3, Noc 8, Dzień 29 (fragment) – recited by Marcin Miodek, music by Marcin Mirowski for IKM Gdańsk – Spotify