November 29, 2012

Francisco Alvim

Francisco Alvim [Brazil]

Born in Araxá, Minas Gerais state, in 1938, Francisco Alvim grew up in the area between Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte. Upon the publication of his first book, Sol de cegos (1968), he traveled to Paris, where he lived from 1969-1971.

     After returning to Brazil he published Passatempo (Pass Time) in 1974 in the pioneering marginal collection “Frenesi.” In 1981, Brasilense Publishing House collected nearly all his work in one volume, Poesias Reunidas (1968-1988). Another book, Claro Enigma, was also published in 1988. His O Elefante was published in 2000.

      For several years, Alvim served as a diplomat in Spain, before retiring to Rio de Janeiro, where he now lives.


Sol dos cegos (Rio de Janeiro: Edição, 1975); Passatempo Rio de Janeiro: Caleção Frenesi, 1975); Lago, Moontanha (Rio de Janeiro: Caleção Capricho, 1981); Poesias Reunidas (1968-1988) (Brasilense, 1988); Claro Enigma (1988); O Elefante (São Paulo: Cia das Letras, 2000); Poems (1968-2000) (São Paulo: Cosac & Naify, 2000)


The Stone

Trees crush me
leaves and branches inside me,
void of all that I am
I can confirm that plants, like stones,
go rotten.

—Translated from the Portuguese by Dana Stevens

A Corridor

An enormous corridor
that I see everybody walking
that everybody sees me walking

An enormous corridor (enormous)
that so many of us walk
I everybody walks

A corridor that walks
I everybody us
A corridor walks (itself)

 —Translated from the Portuguese by Thomas Colchie and the author


 On top of the dresser
a can, two jars, some things
among them three old prints
On the table, two folded tablecloths
one green, the other blue
a sheet, also folded, books, a keychain
Under my right arm
a black-covered notebook
In front, a bed
whose headboard has cracked wide open
On the wall some paintings

 A clock, a cup

—Translated from the Portuguese by Dana Stevens

For a short selection of other poems and a short interview, link below:

For another selection of translations of Alvim’s work, click here:


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