The Malta Independent 16 May 2022, Monday

Aporija mill-Ġdid by Roderick (Rigu) Bovingdon

Tuesday, 24 September 2019, 09:54 Last update: about 4 years ago

Alfred Palma

Bovingdon, Roderick (Rigu), Aporija mill-Ġdid, Second Edition, Anthology of poems in Maltese, Italian and English 
Hardbound, pp.xxiii & 579
Horizons Ltd

Roderick (Rigu) Bovingdon left Malta in December 1958 and disembarked at Sydney where he settled in January 1959. Realistically Roderick never departed from his beloved Malta in its entirety. For indelibly engraved within his sensitive poetical fibre, ever present is his genuine indubitable Maltese upbringing, now imbued with his robust Australian aplomb, reveals a mature milieu of the Anglo Maltese Australian within.

Having read the classics (Latin and Greek) at Malta's Minor Seminary in Floriana before the family's move to the Great Land Down Under, this fresh monumental anthology of original verse expressed in his three primary languages - Maltese, Italian and English - echoes the poet's rich educational background flowing mellifluously through this entire opus.


Entitled Aporija mill-Ġdid, a Classical Greek term carefully selected by our bard as a reflection of the underlying theme of his life's versification - an apt representation of Rigu's existentialist philosophy - consummate lovers of humanity's muse are left with no doubt where the poet's sentiments lay.

This new version of Bovingdon's Aporija is a revised and enlarged edition; hence the added phrase mill-Ġdid. With an in-depth critique by Oliver Friggieri and two sagacious literary commentaries by Gerald Bugeja and Alfred Degabriele - all three contributions written for the original compilation (2002) and to the exclusion of the several additions since, interspersed within chapter eight and onwards - the avid reader is left to savour the subtleties of sheer passion as they gently emanate from the linguistic bravura of the poet's use of language.

Adding further in-depth knowledge into unknown quarters of Bovingdon's perceptions and tribulations, the late Maltese Australian poet par excellence Joe Saliba, formerly of Melbourne, original translator of Kahlil Gibran's Maltese translation of The Prophet and long time friend of this celebrated poet - graciously adds his critique of the poem Mill-ġdid Malti - with insightful appreciation.

The attractive design, page size and overall presentation of this latest compilation of Maltese poetry - for even the poems in Italian and English are verses flowing from a Maltese Australian heart - the publisher Horizons reveals the profound respect it accorded our celebrated poet. The entire ouevre flows across as a fresh breeze, gracefully blowing from distant and diverse shores, bearing distinct Maltese Mediterranean and global sighs of humanity's triumphs and woes. A profound personal philosophy together with the poet's singular philosophy of language; no less! 

For indeed the international theme in the poet's versifications emerges in gentle rhythms - and at times not so gentle too - out of a language written for all times, by the perennial traveller ever seeking the ultimate haven within humanity's cri-de-coeur.

This review would not be complete without snippets from the three languages represented within this compilation. Out of the poem Vaya con Dios a solemn heart reverberates Mistrieħa l-umanità, / fil-ħolm mitlufa. / Distakka mir-realtà, / mansa ħarufa.  Meanwhile the poet's Italian mood reveals Quando l'uccello non canta mai / e sulla notte scende il pensiero solitario / vola liberata l'anima piccola / all'universo vuoto, aperto. And no less powerful and penetrating from his English verse This Human Heart cries out -- With ev'ry tear, so bleeds this human heart! / Invisible! Each human voice! Portend! / How frail the links that bind sublime with woe! / Throw wide the Gates of Josaphat! The End! 

Needless to add, the power of Bovingdon's poesy involves the reader in his private yet universal voyage through time and space, in search of the ultimate doubt, his uncertainty, his perennial aporija of humanity's plight; this relatively insignificant human creature endlessly wandering through the universe in time and space amidst the eternally unknown. 


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