Education by Stone

Overview

“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.”—New York Times Book Review

Disdaining personal revelation and sentimental vision, the poems of João Cabral de Melo Neto (1920-1999) present squalor, desperation and injustice without comment or obvious compassion. Other poems pay homage to such subjects as chewing gum and aspirin. What interests ...

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Education by Stone

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Overview

“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.”—New York Times Book Review

Disdaining personal revelation and sentimental vision, the poems of João Cabral de Melo Neto (1920-1999) present squalor, desperation and injustice without comment or obvious compassion. Other poems pay homage to such subjects as chewing gum and aspirin. What interests Cabral, as he remarked in his acceptance speech for the 1992 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, is “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.

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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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780974968018
  • Publisher: Steerforth Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2005
  • Edition description: Bilingual (Portugese-English) Edition
  • Pages: 275
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Eschewing both free verse and traditional lyric forms, Cabral (1920-1999) likened poetry to manual labor and was part of the Brazilian postmodern "Generation of 1945." His major poetic works include Pedra do sono (1942), O cao sem plumas (1950), and Uma faca sO lAmina (1955). Richard Zenith is a renowned translator from the Portuguese. His translations include works by Antonio Lobo Antunes and Fernando Pessoa. He is the author of a short story collection (Terceires Pessoas). He has received grants from the NEA and the Guggenheim. He lives in Lisbon.

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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?

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Table of Contents

Windows 5
Poetry 7
Water and the poem 9
The dancer 13
The engineer 15
The table 17
The office clerk 19
The lesson of poetry 21
Psychology of composition 27
Antiode 33
The dog without feathers 47
Tourist pitch for Recife 81
The wind in the canefield 85
Cemetery in Pernambuco (Toritama) 89
Encounter with a poet 91
Cemetery in Pernambuco (Sao Lourenco da Mata) 95
A few matadors 97
Cemetery in Pernambuco (Nossa Senhora da Luz) 101
Cemetery in Alagoas (Trapiche da Barra) 105
The woman and the house 107
Cemetery in Paraiba (between Flores and Princesa) 111
The word silk 113
Cemetery in Pernambuco (Floresta do Navio) 117
Cemetery in Pernambuco (Custodia) 119
Party at the manor house 123
Yes against yes 153
The egg 159
The sea and the canefield 167
Education by stone 169
On sitting/being-in-the-world 171
Weaving the morning 173
Tale of an architect 175
Speechless rivers 177
The canefield and the sea 179
Rivers for a day 181
Psychoanalysis of sugar 183
The kingdoms of yellow 185
On a monument to aspirin 187
Inhabiting time 189
For the book fair 191
The insomnia of Monsieur Teste 195
W. H. Auden 197
The unconfessing artist 199
Berceo's catechism 201
The waters of Recife 203
The architecture of sugarcane 207
Rilke in New poems 209
The autograph 211
Proust and his book 213
Plantation boy 217
Horacio 219
The voice of the canefield 221
Fort Orange, Itamaraca 223
The voice of the coconut grove 225
The school of knives 227
The sandbank at Sirinhaem 229
Sugarcane girl 233
Sugarcane and the eighteenth century 235
The nothing that is 239
Banks & cathedrals 241
Renewed homage to Marianne Moore 243
Sandwater 245
In the Paramo 247
The bed and the car 249
Right to death 251
A question of punctuation 253
The ironware shop in Carmona 257
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