Ricardo Aleixo

Poetic sound work IV

Obra sonora poética, Parte IV

Marília Garcia at Maison de la Poésie in Namur. Photo by Arnaud de Schaetzen.
Marília Garcia at Maison de la Poésie in Namur, 2011. Photo by Arnaud de Schaetzen.

This is Part IV of a four-part essay that appears in Portuguese in Deslocamentos Críticos (Lisbon: Babel; São Paulo, Itaú Cultural, 2011) under the title "Obra Sonora Poética: 1980-2010." Read Parts I, II, and III.

Brazilian Poetic Sound Work: 1980-2010

IV.

In the twenty-first century, Ricardo Aleixo and younger Brazilian poets are joining veteran vanguardists such as Augusto de Campos as global players in cross-platform writing. But in the last decade, young innovative poets also have been creating a stylistic register that does not feature the prominent, material use of sound that appears to epitomize this century. Instead, they write lyric poems that are sufficiently skeptical of the mode. These poems paint descriptive, imagistic scenes with emotional resonance, and irony. They dialogue with an international roster of inspirational places and poetic predecessors, and at times fight with them. They shamelessly mull over language and the mundane. They are dystopian, but rooted in place and local light. In these ambient poems, sound comes to be important as tone.

Poetic sound work III

Obra sonora poética, Parte III

Ricardo Aleixo performing Música para modelos vivos movidos a moedas," 2010.
Ricardo Aleixo performing "Música para modelos vivos movidos a moedas," 2010. Photo by Paulo Filho.

This is Part III of a four-part essay that appears in Portuguese in Deslocamentos Críticos (Lisbon: Babel; São Paulo, Itaú Cultural, 2011) under the title "Obra Sonora Poética: 1980-2010." Read Part I here and Part II here.

Brazilian Poetic Sound Work: 1980-2010

III.

“Barulho”’s suggestion of the physicality of poetry through both its sound and sense resonates anew in the “cross-platform” work of Ricardo Aleixo.[11] In Gullar, sound functions within Poundian melopoeia, plucking noises, rhythm, and melodies out of printed words via poetic devices including rhyme, assonance, and alliteration (even as it reaches to involve the body of the reader through the idea of breath). Aleixo’s poetry combines these devices with sonic devices in means and media beyond the realm of the printed page. His most important medium may be his own performing body and voice. Through performance, he actualizes the movement, voice, lyric self, and voice-body-sound relationship that Gullar’s poem evokes.

Poetic sound work, 1980-2010

Obra sonora poética, 1980-2010

Ricardo Aleixo in São João del Rei, Minas Gerais, 2010. Photo by Paulo Filho.
Ricardo Aleixo in São João del Rei, Minas Gerais, 2010. Photo by Paulo Filho.

Last year, I wrote an essay on sound in contemporary Brazilian poetry that was published in Portuguese in Deslocamentos Críticos (Lisbon: Babel; São Paulo, Itaú Cultural, 2011). I am glad to share the English version of the essay here over the next several posts. My great thanks to Rumos Literatura do Itaú Cultural, the literary criticism program of Itaú Cultural, for their support of this research.

Brazilian Poetic Sound Work: 1980-2010

I.

In the course of performing Um Ano Entre Os Humanos, poet Ricardo Aleixo (b. 1960) recites and sings.1 He plays guitar and bits of hardware. He dj’s from a laptop. Some of these sounds are scripted; others, improvised. All complement the visual aspects of the performance, which include video, a simple set of a chair and table holding just the laptop, a microphone, and percussion instruments, and Aleixo and his co-performer’s both choreographed and spontaneous movements. Sound contrasts, however, with the piece’s most striking visual symbol: the poemanto, a large black cloth emblazoned with white letters that Aleixo wraps himself in and animates for part of the performance, and that appears in a video that plays for part of the piece.

Syndicate content