Joan Brossa (1919–1998, Barcelona, Catalonia) was a Catalan poet, as well as a playwright, graphic designer and visual artist. He wrote his huge literary work in the Catalan language only.
He was one of the founders of both the group and the publication known as Dau-al-Set (1948) and one of the leading early proponents of visual poetry in Catalan literature. Although he was in the vanguard of the post-war poets. He also wrote hundreds of formally perfect sonnets, saphic odes and sestinas as well as thousands of free and direct poems. His creative work embraced every aspect of the arts: cinema, theatre (more of 360 pieces), music, cabaret, the para-theatrical arts, magic and the circus.
For him, expression had priority over content, and he managed to give his poetry the appearance of plays on words. His lyrical work is connected with the theatre while the totality of his literature (more of 80 books, all written in the Catalan language) is impregnated with the theatrical dimension as he always employed a broad and interdisciplinary vision of culture, the arts in general and the performance arts in particular. This vision was expressed in his literary and visual works which often appeared as satirical, cutting, ironic and critical or, on other occasions, irreverent yet playful. In the latter years of his creative life, he received a number of awards such as the National Prize for the Visual Arts (1992), the National Theatre Prize (1998) and the UNESCO Picasso Medal. He has been posthumously awarded doctorate honoris causa from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (1999). He was a member and then Honorary Member of the Association of Catalan Language Writers. His visual poetry (poesia plàstica), obviously placed beyond all linguistic borders, is recognized as a reference the world over.
He collaborated in the foundation of the Espai Escènic Joan Brossa (The Joan Brossa Theatrical Space) in the Born district of Barcelona, this being the initiative of the theatre director and actor Hermann Bonnin and the magician Hausson, who continued along the theatrical lines espoused by Brossa.