L’americà D. Sam Abrams és professor de literatura a la UOC, poeta, crític literari, i traductor. Ha traduït 20 llibres de poesia catalana moderna a l’anglès. Adjuntem un segon fragment de l’entrevista publicada al Barcelona INK.
A second extract from the fascinating interview with D Sam Abrams, professor at the Open University of Catalonia, literary critic, poet and translator. The full interview was published in issue no.2 of Barcelona INK.
Question: So, just how Catalan are you?
Abrams: I’m as integrated as you get but I don’t believe in total integration. I believe sooner or later you always come up against a wall. Two examples of this: One, politically speaking, an American is born in a democratic tradition and it’s very difficult for an American involved in Catalan politics to understand the “if you don’t like it why don’t you stand up and walk away” attitude. This “yes, maybe ... we want to be independent but we are afraid to use the word ...” As an American I find that very hard to understand. As my grandmother used to say, “either shit or get off the pot.”
The other is this. I was the Secretary of the PEN Club here for two years and one of the problems I kept coming up against was imagination and creativity. An American is born to think about ways of doing things. It’s hard for Catalans to conceive new ideas. For example, when it was the 100th anniversary of the poet Joan Oliver Pere IV, I had the idea of printing posters with his poems and to go up and down the Rambla and stick them up, and have the members putting up posters as well as the poet’s only daughter putting up the first one. The immediate reaction was a very lethal Catalan question, “Vols dir?” That means, “we’ve never done this, do you really think it’s going to work?”
Question: You are in favour of independence.
Abrams: Oh, absolutely, and I think the last two years in local politics has proved this right.
Question: Has your learning the language had an effect on your political opinions?
Abrams: Before I even came here I was under the impression that Spain was one great nation. I was told before I came here that Catalan was a dialect and the language is Spanish. But it became clear when I arrived that all of this was completely erroneous and that was before I even spoke the language.