April 5, 2015

Corsino Fortes

Corsino Fortes [Cape Verde]

Born on Cape Verde’s São Vicente island in 1933, he worked as a teacher lawyer before serving as Cape Verde’s ambassador to Portugal and later as a judge in Angola.

     His first book of poetry, Pão e Fonema (Bread and  Phoneme), was published in 1974, the year in which Portugal dictator Salazar was overthrown, and which began the decolonization of the Cape Verde Islands the following year.

     The works of this important book spoke of the difficulties of life on the islands, while arguing the desires for independence.

     In 1986, Fortes published is second volume, Arvore e Tambor (Tree and Drum), and finished, what is now comprehended as a trilogy, with Pedras de Sol e Substância (Stones of Sun & Substance). The three volumes were reprinted as A Cabeça Dalva de Deus (The Bald Head of God) in Brazil in 2010.
    An English-language selection of his work, translated by Daniel Hahn and Sean O’Brien, was published by Archipelago Books in 2015.


Pão e Fonema (Luanda, Angola: Comité de Acção do PAIGC-ANGOLA, 1974); Arvore e Tambor (Praia, Cabo Verde: Instituto Caboverdiano de Livro; Lisbon: Publiações Dom Quixote, 1986); Pedras de Sol e Substância; A cabeça calva de Deus (São Paulo: Escrituras, 2010).


Corsino Fortes Poems (London: Enitharman/Poetry Translation Centre, 2008); Selected Poems of Corsino Fortes (Brooklyn: Archipelago Books [Island Position], 2015)

For a selection of poems in English, go here:

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