It was 1977. Franco had died and society was in full transition. It was then that some young Bernardo Atxaga, Joxemari Iturralde, Joseba Sarrionandia, Ruper Ordorika, Jon Juaristi and Manu Ertzilla met in Bilbao to give an outlet to their creative concerns. They intended to start a publishing house, but their aspirations fell on deaf ears due to lack of funding. And they had to settle for launching the magazine ‘Pott’, which was a revolution in contemporary Basque literature. They put out six numbers on the streets until 1980, the year in which the group dissolved for various reasons. Four decades after the last publication, Bernardo Atxaga’s brother has discovered in the basement of his home 160 “intact” copies of the latest edition that was published under the title ‘Pott Tropikala’. They are in perfect state of conservation when stored in the place where they have appeared fresh from the press. “An authentic archaeological find”, they describe from the group. Fans of Basque culture now have the opportunity to get hold of one of these copies through the virtual store that Azoka de Durango will activate starting tomorrow.
“It has been a great joy to know that there are still copies of ‘Pott'”, says Joxemari Iturralde, one of its founders. Remember the experience with longing and respect. “We were very young, we were not even 30 years old. We felt that something new was coming, but we did not know what and there was a lot of nervousness in the environment. The six of us met once a week in the bar ‘El Cantábrico’, in the Old Town of Bilbao, and we exchanged our texts. We all had a great passion for literature, we wanted to create our own path in that world, and we were also friends. That’s what made us so special, ”he says. They did not take long to create the literary and avant-garde group ‘Pott’, giving life to a reference magazine of Basque literature. They released their first edition in 1977, at the modest price of 25 pesetas of the time. “We sold it in nearby bookstores, but we also took the car and moved around the cities. We even went to Pamplona, in full Sanfermines. Imagine the panorama, some young people selling copies of their magazine in Basque in a corner, ”comments Iturralde.
Bernardo Atxaha, Joxemari Iturralde, Joseba Sarrionaindia, Ruper Ordorika, Jon Juaristi and Manu Ertzilla.
They released six issues between 1977 and June 1980. The first cost 25 pesetas.
160 copies of the sixth issue, with 84 pages and 90 photographs.
He insists, however, that ‘Pott’ was not a closed group. It tried to unite people who wrote in both Basque and Spanish. “We created the magazine with two objectives: to promote literature and the Basque language, but we did not leave anyone aside”, qualifies. And this is reflected in the copies, all bilingual and with a great participation of illustrious writers who are today great figures in literature. Like its founders, among which are two National Literature Awards, such as Atxaga and Juaristi, or the one for Euskadi held by Sarrionandia and the one for criticism of narrative in Basque by Iturralde.
“Touch of rebellion”
The ‘Pott Tropikala’ number, available from Azoka, was the ‘most avant-garde’. With a large color cover (24×36 centimeters), its 84 pages contain works by the aforementioned writers, as well as Jon Kortazar, Koldo Juarista and Jose Julián Bakedano. «We wanted to attract attention and give that touch of rebellion. That is why in all the editions we put the number three on the cover, even in the first edition, simply to mislead, “Iturralde details.
The magazines were discovered by Ramón Irazu, Bernardo Atxaga’s little brother, while cleaning the basement a few months ago. “You can see that he hid them so well that he did not remember where he had left them”, they point out in a jocular tone from Pamiela, a publishing house that will sell 120 copies at 20 euros, the price they estimate is equivalent to the 25 pesetas of yesteryear. The 40 remaining copies will be distributed by the UPV, study centers and libraries to preserve “this treasure of Basque culture. They are intact, the only thing that betrays their age are the staples with which they are bound ”, they point out.