Products from the literary garden of Marco Martella


The writer and gardener Marco Martella, in Verdelot (Seine-et-Marne), in 2022.

Marco Martella’s conversation resembles his books, with a marvelous delicacy and an erudition that one guesses is considerable, but whose expression turns out to be almost excessively modest. Italian of origin, installed for a long time in France, he directs the magazine Gardens and is part of the scientific council of the European Institute of Gardens and Landscapes.

His entry into literature was discreet, and even a little confusing, since he first pretended to be the simple translator of a writer of his invention, a certain Jorn de Précy “(1837-1916)”character of an English esthete whose biography he had fun imagining and designing a somewhat vagabond essay, The Lost Garden (Actes Sud, 2011). This first book was followed, in 2014, by a new imaginary translation, allegedly from Serbo-Croatian, of a book this time attributed to the ghost poet Teodor Ceric, Wartime Gardens. In both cases, a work made up of short stories that link, in addition to the obvious theme of the garden, allusive threads sometimes barely visible, and a flagrant love of libraries.

Marco Martella is a scholar with taste, who loves to cross the living and the dead, Fernando Pessoa, Enrique Vila-Matas or Emily Dickinson, with characters from whom one wonders if he met them, created from scratch or borrowed in the Bottin dreamed up by a Borges… The principle remains the same in any case when he signs a series of superb books with his name: A small world, a perfect world (Poesis, 2018), Flowers (Actes Sud, 2021) and today The fruits of myrobalanwhich extends in a more explicitly autobiographical tone, in appearance, this art of composition.

They are thus texts woven into a kind of literary and vegetal tapestry, whose motifs respond discreetly from one book to another, as sometimes the characters or quotations, the whole forming a truly original work, not without analogy with setting up a garden. The mythical Violet Trefusis (1894-1972) fitting out a house in Brie and the silhouette of a somewhat suspicious neighbor rub shoulders there, the rather enigmatic evocation of a collection of agricultural objects and a series of apocryphal anecdotes about the installation of Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) in the countryside… Marco Martella’s books, as we have guessed, are impossible to summarize: they disdain the facilities of the plot to reinvent, under various masks , ” a perfect world “. Wandering among the massifs of a work.

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