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Looking for Poetry: Poems by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Rafael Alberti and Songs from the Quechua
     

Looking for Poetry: Poems by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Rafael Alberti and Songs from the Quechua

by Mark Strand, Mark Strand (Translator), Rafael Alberti, Carlos Drummond De Andrade
 
A uniquely appealing collection that reflects the variety and richness of South American poetry.

Carlos Drummond de Andrade, a native-born Brazilian, is universally recognized as the finest and most accessible modern Portugese-language poet and, along with Pablo Neruda, a poet of the common man, writing of home, family, friends, and love.

Rafael Alberti--an

Overview

A uniquely appealing collection that reflects the variety and richness of South American poetry.

Carlos Drummond de Andrade, a native-born Brazilian, is universally recognized as the finest and most accessible modern Portugese-language poet and, along with Pablo Neruda, a poet of the common man, writing of home, family, friends, and love.

Rafael Alberti--an elegist primarily--came to Argentina (where he wrote many of his poems) in exile from Spain during the Spanish Civil War. The effects of that experience wind through the poet's work in poems about the survival of the spirit in the face of personal and political tragedy.

Looking for Poetry also contains the simple and haunting poems of the Quechua Indians.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A collection of poetry translated by Mark Strand, Looking for Poetry: Poems by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Rafael Alberti and Songs from the Quechua includes (though twice-removed, via Andrade's Portuguese and Alberti's Spanish) the incantatory verse of the Quechua Indians, who live in Peru and Bolivia. Andrade (1902-1987), a Brazilian-born modernist who began writing in the 1920s, remains one of the best-known Portuguese-language poets. Alberti (1902-1999), a Spaniard exiled to Argentina during the Civil War, elaborates the twin themes of nostalgia and displacement. (Mar. 7) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375709883
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/26/2002
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
1,345,164
Product dimensions:
5.89(w) x 8.34(h) x 0.55(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction to the Poetry of Carlos Drummond de Andrade

Carlos Drummond de Andrade, one of the most revered Brazilian poets of the twentieth century, was born in 1902 in Itabira, a small mining town in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. He died in Rio de Janeiro in 1987. His poems are, for the most part, bittersweet evocations of a small-town childhood or, more emblematically, remorseful accounts of a lost world or simply discreet and sometimes ironic views of the way things are. Though they seem to concern themselves with the ubiquity of loss, they are often amusing. So easily do humor and seriousness coexist in Drummond's work that their unexpected harmony may account in part for his popularity. This harmony is evident even in his city poems, where the balance is tipped toward seriousness, and where the reader is made to feel that life is a forced march and all any of us can do is endure it. Even in these, despite their litanies of ills, one feels the presence of humor and of a forgiving lightness that reveals, at the least, the poet's unusual capacity for sympathizing.

Like other poets of his period, Drummond's poetic loyalty was with Modernism. This meant turning his back on the inflated rhetoric of Symbolism and Parnassianism and adopting a rhetoric of his own, one that was plainer, and flexible enough to respond to the rapid changes around him. In Brazil these changes had largely to do with the shift from the old agricultural aristocracy to the quickly growing industrial class. It is easy to witness in Drummond's poems these two worlds in conflict. It is just as easy to see that what the twentieth century demanded was not just severance from the past but an alarming and sometimes desperate need to keep up with the present.

Despite Drummond's aesthetic allegiance, he nevertheless held on to elements commonly associated with traditional lyric poetry. His most famous poem, "In the Middle of the Road," which first appeared in 1928, created an immediate sensation, some readers deeming it rubbish, others finding it stunningly original. What it ends up being is a very simple poem whose power depends on the incantatory repetition of the first line and the admission or promise that what it records will never be forgotten. It insists on the value of an event or an image that by any measure would be insignificant. It suggests that a poet should be responsible to all of what the world offers him. But, as in many Drummond poems, this one hangs in the balance between seriousness and humor. There is something outrageous about the claims this poem makes in its memorializing, and yet it enacts one of the central concerns of lyric poetry—to rescue from oblivion as much of our human experience as we can.

Seven Sided Poem

When I was born, one of those crooked angels who live in shadow said: Go on, Carlos, be gauche in life.

The houses look out on men chasing after women.
If the afternoon were blue there might be less desire.

The trolley passes full of legs:
white, black, yellow legs.
My God, my heart asks, why so many legs.
But my eyes ask nothing.

The man behind the mustache is serious, simple, and strong.
He hardly talks.
He has few and precious friends,
the man behind the glasses and the mustache.

My God, why hast Thou forsaken me.
Thou knewest I wasn't God
Thou knewest how weak I was.

World, wide world,
if my name were Harold it might be a rhyme but no answer.
World, wide world,
my heart is bigger than you are.

I shouldn't tell you but this moon and this cognac are hell on a person's feelings.

In the Middle of the Road

In the middle of the road there was a stone there was a stone in the middle of the road there was a stone in the middle of the road there was a stone.

I'll never forget this event in the lifetime of my tired eyes.
I'll never forget that in the middle of the road there was a stone there was a stone in the middle of the road in the middle of the road there was a stone.

Quadrille

John loved Teresa who loved Raymond who loved Mary who loved Jack who loved Lily who didn't love anybody.
John went to the United States, Teresa to a convent
Raymond died in an accident, Mary became an old maid,
Jack committed suicide and Lily married J. Pinto Fernandez who didn't figure into the story.

Meet the Author

Mark Strand is the author of nine books of poems, including Blizzard of One, winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize. He was the Poet Laureate of the United States in 1990, and currently teaches at the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He lives in Chicago.

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