Maria Grech Ganado

Maria Grech Ganado

Maria Grech Ganado, (b. 1943), read English at the Universities of Malta, Cambridge and Heidelberg. She was the first Maltese female Full-Time Lecturer at the University of Malta (Department of English). Two of her five collections of Maltese poetry, Izda Mhux Biss (1999) and Taht il-Kpiepel t’Ghajnejja (2014) won the National Book Prize, as did two of her three English collections, Cracked Canvas (2005) and Framed (2018).

Her original poetry in one language or another has appeared in literary publications both locally and abroad, where it has been translated into more than 12 other languages (to date: French, Italian, German, Greek, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, Lithuanian, Finnish, Czech, Catalan, Slovakian, Hungarian, Dutch and currently being translated into Armenian). It has appeared in English in the UK, the USA, Australia, South Africa and Cyprus. Her latest publication, the English Framed, was funded by the National Book Council, and was the first poetry collection to be published by one of Malta’s most prestigious publishers, Merlin. In 2019, she also received Malta’s first Poet Laureate award when the collection won the National Book Prize.

Maria has been invited to many literary events in different countries and, in 2005, co-organised an international seminar, ‘Re-Visions’, with LAF (Literature Across Frontier, which she introduced to Malta) and Inizjamed. In 2008, thanks to an exchange scheme with Saint James Cavalier, Malta, she was a Resident Fellow for six weeks at the Virginia Centre for the Creative Arts. Maria has also translated into English much of the poetry and prose written by Maltese writers today.

In 2000, she was awarded a State medal, the MQR – Midalja ghall-Qadi tar-Repubblika (Medal for Service to the Republic), in 2015, a Lifetime Achievement award by the National Book Council and the Shield of Honour by her home town, Floriana, in 2017.

Maria has 3 children and 3 grandchildren.


 by: Maria Grech Ganado
 ISBN: 9789990917529
 Category: English, Poetry
 Cover: Paperback
 Publication Date: 2018
 Page Count: 168


Earth drowns her children
in her own weary womb now


(mediterranean 2015)

we scan each wave for flotsam
pointing at us, like fingers

our children splash and treasure
smooth pebbles in their hands
sail boats on our whispers

it’s best for them we tell each other
if they don’t know

nightly, shadows rattle our windows
whine at our curtains
covet our beds

it’s only the wind we say


there’s nothing different about this stone
this sun-drenched stone, except your gaze upon it
in a Mediterranean wall hewn out of honey

late afternoon – heat hangs like a fat farmer
drenched in wine, heavy, lazy, too heavy, too lazy
to hoist himself up, the soil has long absorbed
its final drop of rain – parched fields are now golden
your own gaze turned golden – till sun and you
sink into a red horizon into night into sleep

but hold your breath awhile
tomorrow the sun will rise again


if you’d like to paint a picture, here’s a sketch
of a girl stopped on a track overlooking a bay
salt simmering on her skin, toes curled, dust
clinging to her feet, damp hair to her neck –
everything’s sticky even after her swim but so what
there’s always tomorrow – her sun will be good
as it always is, her sea as cool as it always is
her body’s lithe and will always be – there’s fish
for lunch and a book waiting, oil lamps when
moonlight’s not enough, a taste of mouth-organs
a touch of guitars and lots of space for play –
her life’s a summer replete with manifold gifts
she’ll dive into as she does water, so make sure
you paint her with a shimmering face for her eyes
are made of gold

don’t hold on to this sketch, don’t wait too long
she must go shod where life goes barefoot here


If you hang them by your window in the morning
when the air is full of salt, you can hear them
clicking like castanets

they keep you company while you make yourself
a mug of tea, sit, sip and watch them
cavorting in the breeze

blowing into a picture, framed by your window
like a Magritte, of a white sailing boat
waiting suspended

until your mug is empty – then, with its cargo
of your thoughts, the boat sails off again
to lose itself at sea.

For other contributions by Maria Grech Ganado, please follow the links below:

Poetry in this post: © Maria Grech Ganado
Published with the permission of Maria Grech Ganado