Ġorġ Borg was born in Birkirkara on the 26th of November 1946. He attended the Lyceum. Professionally, he started off as a bank clerk and later advanced to the position of bank manager at a local bank.

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Mostly known as a poet (he started writing poems at the age of 14), Borg is also a short story writer, biographer and translator. In 1972, he undertook the arduous task of translating George Orwell’s timeless classic Animal Farm into Maltese, under the title Ir-Razzett tal-Bhejjem. He also wrote two biographies: Dun Ġorġ: il-Ħabib tat-Tfal (“Dun Ġorġ: the Children’s Friend”, 1979) and Ewġenju Borg P.E.P. (1986). Borg won the National Book Prize three times; twice for poetry and once for his biography of Dun Ġorġ.

Borg’s poetry is characterised by brevity and simplicity of language. It stands out for its ability to address complex themes and intricate imagery without resorting to lofty and grandiloquent expression. For instance, Borg frequently explores the theme of the human being’s role in God’s plan. In “In-Newl taż-Żmien” (“The Loom of Time”), he muses about wrestling with mortality, endeavouring to construct something that is ultimately ephemeral. The inexorable progression of death and the existential absurdity of life are poignantly revisited in another poem, “Taħt il-Pont" (“Under the bridge”), where a pile of leaves, personified by the poet, is scattered by an unforgiving wind.

Borg also delves into the struggle to comprehend and grasp reality. In “Naf biss...” (“I only know...”), he questions the interplay of action and consequence, asserting that our comprehension of reality is at best constrained and tenuous. Borg contends that many aspects of our lives are taken for granted, all stemming from our limited vantage point. The poem implies a connection between a missing bird’s companion and a lifeless bird observed in the street. The reader is in doubt as to whether these are one and the same, eluding even the omniscience of the poet’s perspective. We are compelled to infer relationships based on the available evidence. In the grand scheme of things our conclusions are largely speculative.

In “Dil-Fjura” (“This Flower”), Borg further underscores the vastness of God and our insignificance in comparison. Possibly inspired by William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence”, Borg looks at a simple flower and meditates on the interconnectedness of the universe and the vast meaning in the smallest details of existence. Everything seems to be intricately woven into God’s plan.

In “Bebbux” (“Snails”), Borg speculates on the inscrutability of a divine plan. By granting a voice to sea snails, Borg acknowledges the mastery of a creator who fashioned a magnificent home for these creatures – their shells. However, persistent doubts linger, revolving upon themselves, akin to the spirals adorning some of these shells: do the waves tenderly caress the snails or do they mock their lack of awareness with regard to their role in God’s vast plan?

Borg describes his poems as small reflective moments, gently coaxing us to contemplate the universe. Indeed, each verse encapsulates profound thoughts, guiding the reader towards earnest reflection.

Biography written by Noel Tanti



Supported by

Arts Council Malta

Creative Industries Platform

Project co-ordinator: Clare Azzopardi

With the help of: Kirsty Azzopardi, Leanne Ellul and Albert Gatt

Proofreader: Dwayne Ellul

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