Read Selected Poetry, 1937-1990 by João Cabral de Melo Neto Online


This bilingual anthology brings together a representative selection from more than a half century of this distinguished Brazilian poet's lifetime work. Along with previously translated poems are many others in English for the first time. The remarkable group of poets and translators includes Elizabeth Bishop, Alastair Reid, Galway Kinnell, Louis Simpson, and W. S. Merwin....

Title : Selected Poetry, 1937-1990
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ISBN : 9780819522313
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 214 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Selected Poetry, 1937-1990 Reviews

  • Jason
    2019-05-07 17:49

    I think that there can't be any Latin American surrealists, per se. Because surrealists lie so heavily on the idea of symbols to describe the real, the dream state imbibing Reality. But Latin Americans live amongst symbols, dwell within them. It is a dependency on symbols, that is never quenched. A sea populated with searches for new meanings. Surrealists are fishermen over this sea, but Latin American writers are so much a part of it; they are anenomes. With that, I give you Joao Cabral de Melo Neto, whose symbols are immense, but not caught in the dream. they are the working image of the day, easily characterized by the abstract in that that is all. Its morph is the understanding of its capacity--the life it leads is not described by its action, but by its relation to the action. For instance:The sea blew bellsthe bells dried the flowersthe flowers were heads of saintsThis is not a simple tautology. It is an instantiation. And not of any of these specific terms; i.e. sea, bells, flowers, saints. Rather it is a morphology of the mind which can only be represented by the metaphors which characterize the actions of the mind. The mind is like the sea like the bells like the flowers like the saints. it is a reckoning based on their actions, not the mind's. the poem goes on:My memory full of wordsmy thoughts seeking phantomsmy nightmares many nights overdue.At dawn, my thoughts set freeflew like telegramsand in windows lit through the nightthe portrait of the dead womanstruggled desperately to flee.A poem of mind needs these metaphors, because otherwise it would have to be a treatise on the philosophical conondrum of expectation and wait. Here it is concisely, the sensation, as simple as pie: the mind is a fluttering sound of nightmares and change, at the end of its tale comes the horror of knowledge, that being, we all die, everything dies. Yes, yes. Same old story; but here, wicked imagery! Within the loss of memorya blue woman reclinedhiding in her arms oneof those cold birdsthat the moon floats late at nighton the naked shoulders of the portrait.And from the portrait two flowers grew(two eyes two breasts two clarinets)that at certain hours of the daygrew prodigiouslyso that the bicycles of my desperationmight run over her hair.And on the bicycles that were poemsmy hallucinated friends arrived.Seated in apparent disorderswallowing their watches with regularitywhile the hierophant armed as horesmanuselessly moved his lone arm.My friend once told me that all songs are love songs. Can this be adapted to poems as well? If so, then we have these brilliant concentrations, studies if you will, on the obsession and persistance of discovery. This is not mere curiosity, but a passion for the essence of life and mind. It is a search for whole foods while time only burns with empty calories. It is digestion. Here it is, "The End of the World":At the end of a melancholy worldmen read the newspapers.Indifferent men eating orangesthat flame like the sun.They gave me an apple to remind meof death. I know that cities telegraphasking for kerosene. The veil i saw flyingfell in the desert.No one will write the final poemabout this private twelve o'clock world.Instead of the last judgment, what worries meis the final dream.As i said before, he is not a surrealist. His poetry is very real, very real thoughts. He dips into the surreal as a passionate hero would dip into romance while trying to reason: already so smothered in its infinity it can't be avoided. So he attempts to explain these designs, and he does it, uniquely. Through an introspective play. The poems are almost all in the same structure, small stanzas that form a long line of interfering ideas. They bridge together to form a point, but, like one of his strongest metahpors: the river, they really just float together, an amorphous collection, to embody the soul of this design. Not definable, so much as approachable. And reaching it, with poetic strains, comes not from body or definition, but from theme and image. He is mopping the image, collecting it through his anenome-like gums:Whenever the wind blows overthe canefield stretched out underthe sun, its inanimate fabricbecomes a sensitive bedsheet:it changes into a livingflag of green on green,with green stars bornand lost in the greenness.the canefield then no longerresembles empty plazas:it does not have, like the stones,the discipline of armies.Its symmetry is jagged,like that of waves on sandor of the waves of peoplevying in the crowded plaza.He is a poet trying to montage all existence. A connect-the-dots, he is trying to form some contigency, relationship between these images to make them consistent in the focus of, well, urr, a lost sensation that is felt by all:undercurrents which, surging,make whirlpools like the onescrowds form, stars like thosethe people in the plaza compose.

  • Glen
    2019-04-24 21:45

    I wish I knew Portuguese as I am sure the lyricism of these poems is extraordinary since it is such a beautiful language to listen to and since that lyricism comes through in many of these translations. A good example is the poem "Written With The Body" (Escritos com o corpo) which compares a woman's body to works by Mondrian. These are sometimes intellectual, sometimes sensual, sometimes virtually opaque, but interesting almost without exception. Brazil's poet laureate deserves to be read in the original, though the facing Portuguese of this collection provides a nice facsimile for those of us who are Iberian-challenged.