Mario Azzopardi
Naked as Water 
translated from the Maltese
with an introduction & afterword by Grazio Falzon

ISBN 1-879378-11-6  (paper)
xiii, 178 pages, $15



Describing himself variously as a Satanic joke, a seven-headed dragon, Kafka's insect, an aura of crazed whiteness and a total eclipse, Mario Azzopardi sees himself "revolving in a Chagall dream, half-moon, half-fish." He broods about himself as "the expansion of hell, fireless, wordless." He brands himself a "guiltless Lucifer," but also an "awful blasphemy."

Azzopardi is the enfant terrible of contemporary Maltese poetry. There is no right way for him: he breaks all the rules, makes up new ones and breaks them too. He is fearless in his attempts to mock tradition or to push it to the limits of his passion for life and for words. His poetry is a verbal pyrotechnics sprawling in a phantasmagoria of sounds, images and rhythms.

Because Azzopardi's work is so prolific, varied and at first sight chaotic, the poems in this collection have been arranged into five sections:

  1. Nocturnes and Visions   poems of Angst, nightmares, scenes from the village and city.
  2. Anima poems about women.
  3. The Seven-Headed Dragon poems about the larger-than-life poet and his quest.
  4. Equinox   poems on religious themes.
  5. Tombstone With No Epitaph abstract poems, poems on geometric relationships, poems about poetry itself.

More about Malta.


From Naked As Water:


From where the rock rises
a patch of blood
marks someone who lost his life to the sea.
Through the trellis I spied
a woman naked as water
her soul
paradise abjured
preferred to my love.

In the lattice
over the naked woman
climbs a grapevine
quivering with ants.

Ink drawing from the book by Thomas M. Cassidy


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