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Volume 62 / Humanities


NAOMI HOKI MONIZ, Associate Professor of Literature, Georgetown University

A LOOK AT THE PUBLICATION OF POETRY books in the last and first years of the turn of the millennium does not show new voices or new trends among the poets. In fact, it seems to be more like a trip down memory lane, revisiting trends that have characterized the last two decades: the reedition of some of the "greats" of the 20th century, the classicists, the politically engaged poets of the streets, the feminist recovery of women authors and the publication of popular oral poets.

Thus we see this biennium, the many editions of the canonic voices of the past century, such as the complete works organized "according to the wishes of the author" himself, Carlos Drummond de Andrade (item #bi2005000708#) and a very useful, complete new edition of Cecilia Meirelles' poetry by Antonio Carlos Secchin (item #bi2006001757#) .

New poetry anthologies of the "45 Generation" classicists and their followers who did not align themselves with the Vanguardists of the 50s are represented: Foed Castro Chamma (item #bi2005000711#), a new book by Ledo Ivo, O Rumor da noite (item #bi2005000721#) and Thiago de Mello from the Amazon region with a selection of his and his readers' favorite poems (item #bi2005000732#). Also among these authors is the gaucho poet Carlos Nejar, who stands alone in his own trajectory and special place in Brazilian poetry with his collections Idade da noite and Idade da aurora (items #bi2005000705# and #bi2005000702#).

The interest driven by feminist criticism and the gaucho authors' project has led to the archival recovery of Delfina Benigna da Cunha who wrote in the 19th century (item #bi2005000720#). Olga Savary, a long established poet, presents a new facet of her work with the erotic poems in Berço esplendido (item #bi2005000730#).

The continuing interest in the history of mentalities and analysis of the quotidian encouraged the publication of popular oral poetry authors, among them the famous Patativa do Assare, in the Biblioteca do Cordel series with poets from all parts of Brazil, including authors residing in the big urban centers, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo (item #bi2005000736#).

Two studies of literary criticism in Spanish language are worth noting: one by Carlos Paredes on Brazilian Modernism with translations of major poets and a good iconography about the period (item #bi2005000710#). The other is by Adolfo Montejo Navas who studies the period from 1960–2000 (2001) with a useful bilingual edition of poems (item #bi2005000713#).

Finally, at the end of the trip down memory lane comes a trip to the present. The work of Fausto Wolf, Cem poemas de amor e uma canção despreocupada (item #bi2005000733#) and Manoel de Barros' Tratado geral das grandezas do ínfimo (item #bi2005000715#) seem to reconfirm a trend that has been present in the last decade in Brazilian poetry, especially the popularity of haiku in Brazil. Contemporary Brazilian poetry is a "poetry of experience," a poetry that focuses on the "here and now," expanding the modern tradition of the "present" as defined by Baudelaire, Nietzsche, Benjamin, and Heidegger. The collapse of the great ideological and eschatological master narratives and the preeminence of new modern technologies have altered the concept of real time and communication, and transformed the arena of being and living. The absence of the horizon of a postponed future and of past prophecies, added to the globalizing tendencies of massive technological flows of images, all point to poets' return to a present that is both banal and sublime. The lack of great names that are central or referential in current Brazilian poetry is keenly felt. In addition, in contrast to the 1970s, much of the "poetry of the streets" is produced and disseminated through various media in the streets of the favelas, in the works of rappers, funkeiros, and hip-hop artists, who are the present day troubadours of places such as the ironically named, redemptive and utopic Cidade de Deus.

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