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TRANSLATION THURSDAY: PORTUGUESE-LANGUAGE POETRY FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD

Posted on April 25 2019

Let’s travel across the world (and through time) through the means of poetry – and, in this Translation Thursday Blog, through the means of language.

This month, two pioneering women poets are being introduced to the English-speaking public, whose work – though arising from different historical and political periods and countries – shares core themes, as well as (world) language: Portuguese.

Here are two forthcoming poetry books exploring sexuality and the women’s perspective, which are translated from Portuguese in both its varieties: from Portugal and from Brazil.

Two Rivers Press will be publishing Point of Honour: Selected Poems of Maria Teresa Horta, translated by Lesley Saunders. This book brings together, for the first time in English, poems by the famous 1937-born Portuguese writer, journalist, activist and feminist, spanning over six decades and including poems from each of her 21 volumes. The book is introduced by a critical essay by leading comparative literature scholar Ana Raquel Fernandes.

Maria Teresa Horta’s poetry has given voice to the women’s experience and has contributed to improve women’s social and political situation in Portugal. Together with Maria Isabel Barreno and Maria Velho da Costa, she published the famous and controversial Novas Cartas Portuguesas (New Portuguese Letters) in 1972, which was originally banned for openly criticising the regime in Portugal.

You might also enjoy the first publication of the Poetry Translation Centre’s new World Poet Series:

the hammer and other poems by Brazilian journalist, activist and poet Adelaide Ivánova (dual language Brazilian Portuguese/English), translated by poet Rachel Long, also the founder of Octavia – Poetry Collective for Womxn of Colour, and Francisco Vilhena, assistant editor at Granta magazine.

​This book explores post-rape experience in a morally bankrupt justice system alongside potent expressions of female sexuality in challenging, profound, and darkly comic poems. The poems are contextualised by Ivánova’s long-time translator Francisco Vilhena and the book concludes with a stunning critical assessment by the poet and academic Emily Critchley. 

Ivánova’s poetry collection (o martelo, in Portuguese) won the prestigious Rio de Janeiro Poetry Prize in 2018. The author edits the anarcho-feminist zine ‘​MAIS PORNÔ, PVFR!’ (‘​MORE PORN, PLS!’) and is co-founder of RESPEITA!, a coalition of Brazilian female poets and spoken word artists.

Adelaide Ivánova will be on tour throughout the UK from next week until the end of May 2019. Save the date for the following events:

Tuesday 30 April: ​guerrilla bitchcraft, Free Word Centre​, London, 7pm.

Friday 3 May: ​Newcastle Poetry Festival​, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1pm.

Friday 24 May: Dragon Hall After Dark With Adelaide Ivánova and Rachel Long, ​Norfolk and Norwich Festival​, Norwich, 7:30pm.

Saturday 25 May: ​originalprojects​, Great Yarmouth.

Find more information on Ivánova’s tour and events tickets here.

If you are interested in Portuguese-language poetry in translation from around the world, here are other three suggestions for our readers:

#1 The Mystical Rose: Selected Poems by Brazilian poet Adélia Prado (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), translated by Ellen Doré Watson, which explore human and women’s concerns, the body, the spiritual and the material world. This collection was shortlisted for the 2015 Popescu European Poetry Translation Prize.

#2 28 Portuguese Poets (Dedalus Press, 2014) a major anthology spanning over a hundred years of Portuguese poetry, introduced by famous translator from Portuguese Richard Zenith, translated by himself and Alexis Levitin.  It includes diverse poems, from the work by the great Fernando Pessoa to today’s generation.

#3 Silence River by Brazilian author Antônio Moura (Arc Publications, bilingual edition, 2012), translated by Stefan Tobler: a selection of Moura’s work and the first in English/Portuguese, which has both a powerful mythic reach and a bizarre neo-Baroque flavour.

Use the promotional code TRANSLATIONTHURSDAY at check out on our website and get 30% discount on the books mentioned above!

Why not become a Poetry Book Society Translation Member to keep up to date with the newest poetry in translation and dual-language books from all over the world? Every quarter Translation Members receive the PBS Translation Selection, chosen by expert poet selector George Szirtes, alongside a full commentary in our Bulletin

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