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The First Major Female Poet In Catalàn

Maria Antònia Salvà i Ripoll

Maria Antònia Salvà i Ripoll is considered as the first major woman bard in the history of poetry written in the Catalàn language.

Salvà Ripoll (1869-1958) was Mallorcan. Her own language, Mallorquín, does not exist in a written form; thus she wrote in Catalàn. The poetess was born in Palma but lived for most of her life in Llucmajor where she was much revered throughout her working life. In Mallorca, she was the first emminent female to pick up the pen to stand up against the silence that had been assigned to the female gender through the ages. She was an early day female intellectual and bookworm but was always modest about her talents, to the point of being apologetic. Salvà Ripoll published six books of poetry and a number of other books such as short stories and autobiographic prose, as well as a large number of translations of works by Petrarca, Frederic Mistral and Santa Teresa de Jesús, and others.

In 1907, she embarked on an extensive journey to Athens, Constantinoble, Patmos, Rhodes, Cyprus, Beirut, Haifa, Jerusalem, Cairo and Rome, accompanied by the distinguished Mallorcan poet, Miguel Costa i Llobera, who was a mentor to her. The photo here was taken during that journey in Cairo, I believe. Ms. Salvà i Ripoll is the lady in white in the last row of the picture; to the left of her we see Don Costa i Llobera, I think. I believe that this journey was her only absence ever from her beloved island, Mallorca. She wrote an account of that journey to the Holy Land under the title Viatge a Orient, which is still in print, albeit only in Catalàn.

The image below shows the first edition of Poesies by Maria Antònia Salvà i Ripoll (1910), her second book to be published.


The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken at an exhibition in Llucmajor, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: October 4th, 2008. The time was 17:42:07.

2 replies »

  1. The poetess, Maria Antonia Salvà Ripoll had a brother who painted the landscapes of their ancestral land of sa Llapassa. He was trained in the academy of San Fernando in Madrid. Until 25th October, upstairs in the beautiful convent of Sant Bonaventura in the center of Llucmayor, can be seen a charming exposition of his works.

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