Barcelona (ACN).- The poet, storyteller and playwright Jordi-Pere Cerdà, who wrote under the pseudonym Antoni Cayrol, died on Monday at his home in Perpignan, in French Catalonia. Cerdà was born in 1920 in the village of Sallagosa in the Alta Cerdanya County, in the part of Catalonia belonging to France. He was a great promoter of Catalan culture in the Rosselló (French Roussillon) and exposed the difficulties facing Catalan speakers in French territory through numerous articles. His creative writing had the central theme of love and work and often drew autobiographically from his experiences with fascism and his resistance to the ideology. Throughout his life, Jordi-Pere Cerdà was awarded the Catalonia’s top distinctions, such as the National Prize for Literature (1999), the Cross of Sant Jordi (1996) and the Prize of Honour of Catalan Letters (1995), which is the top distinction for a writer. The Catalan President Artur Mas defined Cerdà as “a tireless cultural and political activist”. The Catalan Minister of Culture Ferran Mascarell recalls Jordi-Pere Cerdà as "one of the main voices of contemporary Catalan poetry."
The landscape, people and the Cerdanya County, in the Pyrenees, filled his work. Daily life in the mountains was depicted by the literary word as full of strength and lyricism. The bulk of his poetry was collected in the volumes Obra poètica (Poetical Works), from 1966, and Poesia completa (Complete Poetry), from 1988 and was written during the years that he lived in Sallagosa. He was also a playwright, noted for such scripts as Quatre dones i el sol (Four women and the Sun) which premiered at the Romea theatre in Barcelona in 1964 and has since seen numerous productions, both in its original version in Catalan and its French translation.
As a novelist, his work began with the Contalles de Cerdanya (Tales from Cerdanya) in 1961 and continued with Col·locació de personatges en un jardí tancat (Placing Characters into a Walled Garden), from 1984. His final novel was Passos estrets per terres altes (Steps to Narrow Highlands) published in 1998. His reflections have been collected in the volumes Cant alt: autobiografia literària (High Chant : literary autobiography) from 1988 and Finestrals d'un capvespre (Windows of a Sunset) from 2009. In the sixties he moved to Perpignan where he directed the Catalan library and participated in the creation of the Roussillon’s Group of Catalan Studies.
Cerdà was "one of the main voices of contemporary Catalan poetry"
The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, characterised Jordi-Pere Cerdà as “a tireless cultural and political activist”. Mas added that Cerdà was “a bridge between the Catalan culture and the rest of the world”.
The Minister of Culture Ferran Mascarell recalled Jordi-Pere Cerdà as "one of the main voices of contemporary Catalan poetry" dedicating has left "to the promotion of Catalan language and culture." Mascarell considered the poet, playwright and storyteller "a bridge between Catalonia and Rosselló and Catalonia and the world." "With his ability to recreate the voices of authors such as Maragall or Verdaguer, Cerdà was probably the writer who has done most to promote the literary tradition of modern Catalan among readers of Rosselló." Mascarell finally wanted to highlight the ability to visibly see the living traditions that still exist in Rosselló.