Education by Stone

Education by Stone

by Joao Cabral De Melo Neto, Jooao Cabral De Melo Neto
     
 

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Imagine making poems the way an architect designs buildings or an engineer builds bridges. Such was the ambition of João Cabral de Melo Neto. Though a great admirer of the thing-rich poetries of Francis Ponge and of Marianne Moore, what interested him even more, as he remarked in his acceptance speech for the 1992 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, was

Overview

Imagine making poems the way an architect designs buildings or an engineer builds bridges. Such was the ambition of João Cabral de Melo Neto. Though a great admirer of the thing-rich poetries of Francis Ponge and of Marianne Moore, what interested him even more, as he remarked in his acceptance speech for the 1992 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, was "the exploration of the materiality of words," the "rigorous construction of (. . .) lucid objects of language." His poetry, hard as stone and light as air, is like no other.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The compressed wry clarities of this great poet find an active voice in these exceptionally perceptive translations. It matters that one understand "the original" beyond the seeming simplicity of its words. Richard Zenith does, altogether. —Robert Creeley

This superb selection of João Cabral de Melo Neto’s poems is indeed, in the words of the title, an "Education by Stone." Like Francis Ponge and William Carlos Williams, Cabral is a poet of thingness; he observes the seemingly trivial and intransigent, transforming "stone" into something rich, strange—and often very sexy. Richard Zenith’s excellent translation captures Cabral’s unique—and surprising—poetic landscape in all its nuances and thus provides new access to a major Brazilian poet. —Marjorie Perloff

João Cabral de Melo Neto is one of Brazil’s most acclaimed poets . . . From his early days, Mr. Cabral has written poems that are marked by a captivating use of simple language. Avoiding ceremony and circumstance, they follow centuries-old paths rather than struggle to break new ground. —NY Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780974968018
Publisher:
Steerforth Press
Publication date:
02/01/2005
Edition description:
Bilingual (Portugese-English) Edition
Pages:
275
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

Janelas
Há um homem sonhando numa praia; um outro que nunca sabe as datas; há um homem fugindo de uma árvore; outro que perdeu seu barco ou seu chapéu; há um homem que é soldado; outro que faz de avião; outro que vai esquecendo sua hora seu mistério seu medo da palavra véu; e em forma de navio há ainda um que adormeceu.

Windows
There’s a man dreaming on a beach, another who never remembers dates. There’s a man running away from a tree, another missing his boat or his hat. There’s a man who’s a soldier, another who acts like an airplane, another who keeps forgetting his time his mystery his fear of the word veil. And there’s yet another who, stretched out like a ship, fell asleep.

Poesia
Ó jardins enfurecidos, pensamentos palavras sortilégio sob uma lua contemplada; jardins de minha ausência imensa e vegetal; ó jardins de um céu viciosamente freqüentado: onde o mistério maior do sol da luz da saúde?

Poetry
O raging gardens, thoughts words sorcery under a contemplated moon, O gardens of my vast vegetable absence, gardens of an enchanting, addictive sky: where is the larger mystery of light the sun health?

Meet the Author

João Cabral de Melo Neto (1920–1999) was born and raised in northeastern Brazil, whose arid landscape and severe poverty became the setting and subject matter for some of his greatest poems. A career diplomat, he lived for many years in Spain, the other geographical pole around which his poetry flourished. Numerous national and international prizes were awarded to João Cabral, one of the most original poets of the 20th century.

Richard Zenith’s translations from the Portuguese include works by António Lobo Antunes and Fernando Pessoa. His Fernando Pessoa & Co.: Selected Poems won the 1999 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and his new version of Pessoa’s The Books of Disquiet (Penguin) was awarded the 2002 Calouste Gulbenkian Translation Prize. Zenith is the author of Terceiras Pessoas and has published his poetry in literary reviews. He lives in Lisbon.

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