Hilary Kaplan

Brazilian poetry and poetics

Márcio-André Live

Drawing by Laura Erber, 2011
Drawing by Laura Erber, 2011

Right now, an opportunity to catch the live stream reading-performance of Márcio-André, poet-performer from Rio, living in Lisbon. On now (following Ulrike Draesner) at the 43rd Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam.

http://www.poetryinternational.nl/stream/live.html

Other poets at the festival include Dolores Dorantes, Chus Pato, and Ron Silliman.

Ten young poets

Drawing by Laura Erber, 2011
Drawing by Laura Erber, 2011

As I’ve smoothed back into U.S. life over the last few months, many people have asked me which “new” Brazilian poets I’d recommend reading. I love to introduce readers to poets such as Angélica Freitas, whose Rilke Shake I’m translating, Marília Garcia and Ricardo Aleixo, both of whom I’ve written about in these commentaries, among others. And I love to discover new poets to read. Luckily, just the other week, the books editor of the Porto Alegre newspaper Zero Hora selected ten poets in their 20s and 30s “destined to keep poetic creation alive in the Brazilian literary universe” (“Jovens poetas: Uma aposta contra o tempo” by Carlos André Moreira, Zero Hora, Cultura section, p4-5, 2 June 2012). A good half of them have at least a few poems translated into English.

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 II

Obra sonora poética, Parte II

Ferreira Gullar at home. Photo by Tomás Rangel.
Ferreira Gullar at home. Photo by Tomás Rangel.

This is Part II 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.

Brazilian Poetic Sound Work: 1980-2010

II.

Ferreira Gullar’s major poetic work has an interesting sonic history. Gullar spent much of the 1970s in exile (1971-77) from Brazil and its dictatorship. While living in Buenos Aires, he wrote the long poem, Poema Sujo, from May to October of 1975. In order to get the poem to Brazil without attracting the attention of the dictatorship, Gullar recorded it on a cassette, which his friend Vinicius de Moraes carried back. In Rio de Janeiro, Vinicius and others held house gatherings to play the recording and share the poem, which was eventually transcribed and published in 1976. It was an early moment in Brazil when new audio technology became a means of disseminating poetry. And in a time of violent repression, it also became a medium for poetry’s potential to give people a sense of freedom through art and communal solidarity.