This week we will be taking a closer look to the cultural and artistic scene of Fornells, in which the forneller poet par excellence, Gumersind Riera, played a very important role as the highest exponent of the Menorca’s lyricism.
From the twenties, Fornells has captivated many artists (painters, writers or poets) and has been a source of inspiration for its works. The typical small white houses and the savage nature which surrounds the north coast of Menorca turn Fornells into a special and magical spot. Fornells is a small village where you may experience a pleasant feeling of solitude surrounded by the north wind (tramuntana) and sea salt. These natural factors fuse with the affection of the approximately four hundred permanent inhabitants of Fornells and the charm of those people who stay in this village during summertime and fill the streets with life making the Fornells’ nights as one of the most special in the whole Balearic Islands.
The artists, who are particularly sensitive, are able to capture the magic of this kind of places of inspiration very easily, and so they have found a safe haven in Fornells. But, curiously, the most recognized artist in Fornells’ history is not from a distant place, but from the village itself.
Gumersind Riera was born in Fornells on 5th July, 1909, within a humble family of fishermen. When he was a child, he started studying at the Seminar of Ciutadella, but he soon left the ecclesiastic career for teaching, and he also started to write poetry, to become, years after, one of the best poets in Menorca’s history. In addition to his work as a humanities professor –which he developed both in the Balearic Islands and Catalonia–, he worked as librarian of the Athenaeum of Mahón and as Mahón’s Court Clerk. He received some of the most important awards of Catalan literature.
Although he wrote about many different topics, in his poetry there are two predominant elements: the sea and fishing. These elements are intimately linked to Fornells, and, therefore, it can be said that Gumersind Riera was the poet who sang of Fonells. The village of Fornells, meanwhile, gave him the name of one of its main streets. While this poet wrote his last poem in Barcelona, he was buried in Fornells, facing the tramuntana, as he had written:
“I want to be buried here,
facing the tramuntana,
besides this golden sand,
under this clear water.
I will come up empty
–with my soul naked–.
I want to confuse myself
with the waters
as a stream of light
or a splash of white foam” (translated version).
Regards from Fornells.
Author of the photography: Toful Gomila