June 28, 2012

Paolo Leminski

Paulo Leminski [Brazil]


 Born in Curitiba on August 24195, Paulo Leminski led a life on the margins of society, working advertising and intermittent collaboration with newspapers and journals.

     Leminiski died in 1989 from alcohol abuse.

    Despite the difficulties of his life, he wrote several works of prose fiction and poetry. Among his works of prose as Catatau (1975), Agora é que são elas (1986), and Metamorfose (1999, posthumously published). His books of poetry include Quarenta Cliques em Curtiba (1979), Polonaise (1980), Caprichos e Relaxos (1983), Distraídos Venceremos (1987), and La vie en close (1991, published posthumously). He also wrote critical works, including Basho (1983), Leon Trotski, a paixão Segundo a revolução (1986), Cruz e Souz (1983), and Anseios críticos (1986).
     Leminski is now recognized as one of the most important poets of his generation.


Quarenta Cliques em Curtiba (1979); Polonaise (1980); Caprichos e Relaxos (São Paulo: Eidtora Brasiliense, 1983); Distraídos Venceremos(1987); La vie en close (São Paulo: Editora Brasiliense, 1991)


In Régis Bonvicino, Michael Palmer, and Nelson Ascher, eds. Nothing the Sun Could Not Explain: 20 Contemporary Brazilian Poets (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press), reprinted as The PIP Anthology of World Poetry of the 20th Century, Volume 3: Nothing the Sun Could Not Explain—20 Contemporary Brazilian Poets (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2003); selected poems in “Lies Abouth the Truth: An Anthology of Brazilian Poetry, ed. by Régis Bonvicino in collaboration with Tarso M. de Melo, in New American Writing, no 18 (2000)



sees red

—Translated from the Portuguese by Michael Palmer

The Assassin Was the Scribe

My professor syntactical analysis was a so rot
nonexistent subject.
A pleonasm, principal predicate of your life,
common as a paradigm of conjugation.
Between subordinated oration and adverbial
Adjunct he had no doubts: always found an
asyndetic way to torture us with the appositive.
He married grammatical rectitude.
Was unhappy.
Was possessive like a pronoun.
And she was bitransitive.
He tried to go the USA.
No way.
They discovered an indefinite article in his suitcase.
His moustache’s exclamation point decline explicatives,
connectives and passives, forever.
One day I greased him with a direct object through the head.

—Translated from the Portuguese by Michael Palmer

is a mad dog
that must be beaten to death
with a rock with a stick
by a flame by a kick
or else he might very well
the sonofabitch
spoil our picnic

—Translated from the Portuguese by Regina Alfarano


did you shine like this

                  over Auschwitz?

   —Translated from the Portuguese by Regina Alfarano, with revisions by Robert Creeley


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