In the movie Dead Poets Society, the charismatic teacher, John Keating tells his students: “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And … poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

This is the aim of Framed – a collection of incisive, poignant poetry – by the veteran poet and linguist Maria Grech Ganado. It is raw emotion which the reader can feel and identify with and will touch the inner core of our being.

And in today’s consumerist and materialistic societies – including Malta’s – the need for deeper emotions is making inroads. For although the world is hard, words matter.

For Malta, it is even more important: living on an island, and a small one at that, means that we are grid-locked and chocked and we desperately need to vent out the clogged pores of our souls. Poetry is an answer to that.

Together with reflections about natural and social phenomena, Framed is set in and around day-to-day life, exploring the complexities of family relationships, food, art, and observations, and little nuances which we often fail to notice in the rush of life.

And for those of us who don’t usually have poetry books on our bedside table, there is no better way to start than with the doyenne of Maltese poets. Maria Grech Ganado is a daughter, mother, sister, lover, friend, an islander born and bred in Malta, with a special warmth for her mother’s native island, Gozo but she is also a 21st century woman seriously troubled by climate change and its effect on future generations.

The collection has already been highly acclaimed on the international poetry scene. Welsh poet and playwright Menna Elfyn FRSL, praised Grech Ganado’s “philosophical musings” and describes her as one of poetry’s wisest women.  “She manages to frame life with a sideways slant and wit, and even in the darkest of subject matter, there is an iridescence which shines through.”

French writer Frédéric Dumond lauds the manner she connects poetry with everyday experiences, “how behind the shape of each verse, there is the real meaning”.

Framed is the first poetry collection in English published by Merlin Publishers. Chris Gruppetta, the publishing house director said that he is aware that poetry can alter the way people see themselves. “It can change the way we see the world and indeed we have been quietly introducing poetry into our children’s fiction list over the past few years. Now, by means of Framed, it’s time we start making a difference in the lives of grown-ups,” he said.

Gruppetta encouraged readers to log on to the new merlinpublishers.com website for the forthcoming innovative audio bursts which will give a taster of the most powerful of poems in Framed.

Maria Grech Ganado was the first Maltese woman to be recruited at the prestigious Cambridge University in the UK. She then came back to lecture at the University of Malta where she was the first Maltese woman to hold a fulltime post in the academia. She was awarded the Qadi tar-Repubblika in 2000, and the National Book Council’s Lifetime Achievement in 2015.

Framed is available from all leading bookshops or directly from merlinpublishers.com.