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Eccentricities: Outlying Poems that Reconstruct the Modern City/Excentriciudades: Poemas perifericos que reconstruyen la ciudad moderna/Excentricidades: poemas perifericos que reconstruem a cidade moderna.

To Michael Franco and Sergio Mota, listeners of city rhythms


In 1995, the Brazilian poet Augusto de Campos released an album with audio recordings of his poetry. The album, called Poesia e Risco, included a track with the trilingual title "cidade/city/cite"--a poem originally written by Campos in 1963: cidade/city/cite

atrocaducapacaustiduplielastifeliferofugahistoriloqualubri mendimultipliorganiperiodiplastipubliraparecipro rustisagasimplitenaveloveravivaunivora cidade city cite. (1)

Campos is an exponent of concrete poetry: a literary movement that fuses the form of a text into its content for the purpose of making unique objects out of poems. It follows that there is a unique concept of "verse" for each concrete poem as its structure is intended as a formal emanation of what one wants to convey.

Campos keeps this architectonic perspective of the city in mind when he recites his poem. The recording of "cidade/city/cite" starts as an incommodious noise, from which a voice emerges and attempts to pronounce the sprawling string of letters. But the voice fails: given the enormity of the word, the poet eventually runs out of breath.

It is only after a few attempts that the poet manages to complete the chain of sounds, and we hear the end: the suffix-cidade (or-city, or-cite, depending on which of the three looping languages the poem is being recited). This is the common denominator, which gives meaning to the many etymological roots that, in alphabetical order, constitute the poem. These roots, at first sight random, suddenly become legible when coupled with-cidade/-city/-cite.

Urban Poetics

How have innovations in poetry attempted to recreate the archetype of a city? This inquiry focuses on individual poems that first attempted original re-creations (not only descriptions) of cities--works in which the city somehow lives in the verses, breathing through form, sound and rhythm.

The idea of space to build comes to mind: How is the space of a poem built with the materials particular to this craft; and, in the case of a poem intending to recreate a city, how are the tensions, forces, structures of the city projected into this poetic space? These are questions that evoke Charles Olson's "Projective Verse" manifesto:
   (We now enter, actually, the large area of the
   whole poem, into the FIELD, if you like, where all
   the syllables and all the lines must be managed in
   their relations to each other.)

   The objects which occur at every given moment
   of composition (of recognition, we can call it) are,
   can be, must be treated exactly as they do occur
   therein and not by any ideas or preconceptions
   from outside the poem, must be handled as a
   series of objects in field in such a way that a series
   of tensions (which they also are) are made to hold,
   and to hold exactly inside the content and the context
   of the poem which has forced itself, through
   the poet and them, into being. (2)

A study of poem-cities is largely a study of tensions:

a) The general gravitation of words (their attraction/repulsion), manifested in phrasal continuity, enjambments or--as in projective and concrete poetry--a field of forces guiding the distribution of words.

b) The tension between syntax and rhythm, for "the syntax is trying to speed up the line, and the line is trying to slow down the syntax," as Robert Pinsky put it. (3)

c) The fundamental problem of form/content, which is displayed in various ways, such as how a more-or-less traditional form relates to a more-or-less modern theme/vocabulary.

Through five case studies, this essay examines how those tensions are employed by different poets who attempted to re-create their cities through poetry. The featured authors are all outsiders in their own ways: either because their chosen cities were as important to the poets as peripheral to the world, or because the poets themselves were foreigners in the metropoles they sang ... Therefore, their recreations are eccentric in an etymological way (out of the center). Their poem-cities challenge the center of dominant urban representations and realign city borders by realigning poetry itself. One such pivotal work, reflecting a crucial change in urban space is "O Sentimento d'um Occidental" by Cesario Verde.

Lisbon, 1880s

Much has been said about Verde's seminal poem: how it is a turning point in Portuguese literature, and how much it influenced writers such as Fernando Pessoa. (4) Here I will underscore the internal tensions it used to recreate the city.

This is a relatively long poem (176 verses in 44 ABBA quatrains): the second longest in O livro de Cesario Verde (1887). The poem has four parts, each representing a certain period of the same night--a night in the 1880s on which the poet walks through Lisbon.

A scansion of the first page of Verde's poem generates a rhythmic blueprint: unstressed syllables are marked with a hyphen (-); stressed syllables with primary (/), secondary (\), or secondary-elevated-to-primary (!) accents; and long pauses with the caesura symbol (||). Moreover, the Distributive Number (of syllables stressed with primary accents) and the Representative Number (of the amount of syllables in each foot) are presented for each verse. (5)
VERSES                                              SCANSION

Nas nossas ruas, ao anoitecer,                -\-/---!-/ ||
Ha tal soturnidade, ha tal melancholia,  -/-\-/-/-\-/-||
Que as sombras, o bulicio, o Tejo, a       -/---/-/---/-
Despertam-me um desejo absurdo de         -/---/-/---/ ||
O ceu parece baixo e de neblina,            -/-\-/---/-||
O gaz extravasado enjoa-me, perturba;    -/---/-/---/-||
E os edificios, com as chamines, e a       -\-/-!---/-/-
Toldam-se d'uma cor monotona e            \--!-/-/---/-||
Batem os carros de aluguer, ao fundo,        \--/---/-/-||
Levando a via ferrea os que se vao.      -/-\-/---/-/-||
Occorrem-me em revista exposicoes,       -/---/---/-/-||
Madrid, Paris, Berlim, S. Petersburgo,   -/-\-/ \--/-/-||
  o mundo!
Semelham-se a gaiolas, com viveiros,        -/---/-\-/-||
As edificacoes somente emmadeiradas:     -!-\-/-/---/-||
Como morcegos, ao cair das badaladas,     \--/-\-/---/-||
Saltam de viga em viga os mestres         \--/-/-/---/-||

VERSES                                    DISTR. #    REPR. #

Nas nossas ruas, ao anoitecer,            4-8-10      4,4,2
Ha tal soturnidade, ha tal melancholia,   2-6-8-12    2,4,2,4
Que as sombras, o bulicio, o Tejo, a      2-6-8-12    2,4,2,4
Despertam-me um desejo absurdo de         2-6-8-12    2,4,2,4
O ceu parece baixo e de neblina,          2-6-10      2,4,4
O gaz extravasado enjoa-me, perturba;     2-6-8-12    2,4,2,4
E os edificios, com as chamines, e a      4-6-10-12   4,2,4,2
Toldam-se d'uma cor monotona e            4-6-8-12    4,2,2,4
Batem os carros de aluguer, ao fundo,     4-8-10      4,4,2
Levando a via ferrea os que se vao.       2-6-10-12   2,4,4,2
Occorrem-me em revista exposicoes,        2-6-10-12   2,4,4,2
Madrid, Paris, Berlim, S. Petersburgo,    2-6-10-12   2,4,4,2
  o mundo!
Semelham-se a gaiolas, com viveiros,      2-6-10      2,4,4
As edificacoes somente emmadeiradas:      2-6-8-12    2,4,2,4
Como morcegos, ao cair das badaladas,     4-8-12      4,4,4
Saltam de viga em viga os mestres         4-6-8-12    4,2,2,4

At first, the meter seems regular: primary stresses fall upon even syllables, and there are long pauses at the end of almost every verse (enjambments are scarce in the poem, appearing only a handful of times). However, the poet conveys a noticeable rhythmic tension in at least three different ways:

1) There is unevenness inside each stanza, with one decasyllable followed by three alexandrines.

2) The stanza-opening decasyllables alternate between Sapphic (4-8-10 in the first/third stanzas) and Heroic (2-6-10, in the second/ forth stanzas).

3) Each of the four initial stanzas, although perfectly regular, has its alexandrines stressed in a different fashion: the accents on syllables 2-6-8-12 in the first stanza give way to three different stresses in the second, to a 2-6-10-12 pattern in the third and, in the fourth stanza, to a scheme that resembles the second.

Listening to Verde's varying accent schemes, one's ears never get bored. However, the rhythm does not come across as revolutionary. Even if the alexandrine verse, French in origin, was masterfully revived in Portuguese by Verde, it had already been in use in Portugal for a century--the importation generally being attributed to two Portuguese abbots (Cabral and Brandao) and to Bocage. (6) Furthermore, one cannot disregard the popularity of Baudelaire and his alexandrine-abundant Les Fleurs du Mal (1855), which was very much in vogue during Verde's time. Why then would Verde's poem be regarded as revolutionary?

The answer may not lie in any one element: neither just in the form, nor just in the content--but in the tension created between the two. Indeed, as Verde's lyrical self walks through the city, images never-before depicted in Portuguese assault the reader; they come from every corner-stanza of this city-poem. Something about the verses is dissonant, ill at ease. The vocabulary is full of imprisoning verbs as if one walked solely to emphasize how much of a prison the city is. Seemingly unpoetic terms clash against elaborate rhythms, with the disturbing modernity of the theme emphasized by the very metric precision. Through this enhanced tension, Verde projects the urban contradictions into the matter and structure of his verses.

"London," 1914

Verde was not the only herald of modernism and urban-poetics. Fernando Pessoa created a heteronym inspired by Verde using the name Alberto Caeiro; Caeiro, in turn, had Alvaro de Campos--another fictitious Pessoan poet--as his disciple. Campos's first shocking poem--too futuristic to be taken as sane and too ironic to be taken as merely futuristic--was titled "Ode Triunfal." When published in Orpheu I, the ode, though written in Lisbon, was dated "London, 1914--June"--one month before World War I broke out. Yet, Pessoa never visited London (Campos, the heteronym, had traveled extensively in Pessoa's fiction, like a Marco Polo of modernism).

If Verde's vocabulary was innovative when addressing neglected parts of his city, Campos's was affronting. Verily, the poetry of Campos was groundbreaking in both content and form. In contrast to Verde's regular meters, Campos introduced free verse to Lusophone literature as a pioneering disciple of Walt Whitman. (7) "Ode Triunfal" is one of Campos's longest poems, with 32 irregular stanzas (totaling 239 verses), long lines (some reaching 20 syllables) and 11 enjambments. In Whitmanian fashion, it abounds in alliterations and "chaotic enumerations"--to employ the term coined by Leo Spitzer. (8)

The scansion of the ode is no simple matter since it requires secondary and primary stresses to be determined without the support of a regular framework. The free verse of Pessoa/Campos may be traced back to Whitman and his experiment of loosening the rules of Anglo-Saxon verse, in which alliterations play a key role. (9) Besides alliteration, one can add syntactic packaging, parenthetic interruption, anaphora and expansion-contraction of verses--all borrowed from Whitman. (10) Some of these elements are already visible in the first stanza of "Ode Triunfal," as the scansion below shows: (11)

The unapologetic 18-syllable incipit introduces the alliteration of liquid/dental consonants (l, r, d, t) that dominate the stanza. The first verse also presents syntactic packaging, emphasized by the reiteration of the long 4-syllable foot imposed by the three successive proparoxytones ("lampadas electricas da fabrica"); the rhythm functions as super-anapest, with an intrinsic "weak-weakweak-strong" crescendo that adds to the overall impact of the opening). The repetitions of "escrevo" and "para a beleza disto" at the end of verses 2/3 and the beginning of verses 3/4 are examples of anaphora and more syntactic packaging. Note the metric contraction from the opening line to the second and the subsequent expansion from verses 2 to 4.
\     /     /        /      /         /
A dolorosa Juz das grandes lampadas electricas
  da fabrica                                         R# 4,2,4,4,4
 \      /           /    ||
Tenho febre e escrevo.                               R# 3,2
/             /          /    || /              /
Escrevo rangendo os dentes, fera para a beleza
    /   ||
 disto,                                              R# 2,3,2,2,5,2
          /     /     \     /              /
Para a beleza disto totalmente desconhecida dos
      /     ||
 antigos                                             R# 4,2,4,5,4

This stanza (or "paragraph of verses") seems to be part cadence and part irregularity--different mechanized rhythms fighting for predominance--precisely one month before monstrous machines would be put to use in World War I.

The city of Campos is extreme: the discomfort of Verde's poem gives way to manic euphoria in this ode. It has brutal (oftentimes sadomasochistic) vocabulary and a dissonant chorus of noisy machines. Verde innovated in content more than in form; by innovating in both, Campos made sure the reception of his poetry would be as scandalous as the city he was attempting to portray.

Recife, 1912

Much less studied than "O Sentimento d'um Occidental" is its Brazilian equivalent, the poem "As Scismas do Destino" by Augusto dos Anjos (1912). More than twice as long as Verde's landmark poem, Anjos's is a four-part work with 105 ABBA quatrains that total 420 verses. Exclusively in decasyllables, the form is simpler than Verde's mixed meters--but more daring in its use of enjambments (25 in total). Just as Verde walked through Lisbon in the 1880s, Anjos ambled through Recife thirty years later: time and place are different, but the intertextuality is unavoidable.

Already in the first stanza Anjos indicates the city ("Recife"), the specific starting point of his promenade ("Ponte Buarque de Macedo"), the direction ("indo em direcao a casa do Agra"), his feelings ("Assombrado com a minha sombra magra"), and his thoughts ("Pensava no Destino, e tinha medo").

As Anjos proceeds with his poetic report, mixing exterior (city) and interior (poet), remarkable evaluations of the city are made: for example, in the sixth stanza, which is scanned below, after the first:
VERSES                                          SCANSION

Recife. Ponte Buarque de Macedo.       -/-\-/---/-||
Eu, indo em direccao a casa do Agra,     \ /---/-\-/ ||
Assombrado com a minha sombra magra,   --/--/-\-/-||
Pensava no Destino, e tinha medo!      -/---/---/-||
Era como se, na alma da cidade,         \-!--/---/-||
Profundamente lubrica e revolta          -/-\-/---/-
Mostrando as carnes, uma besta solta       -\-/-\-/-/
Soltasse o berro da animalidade.       -\-/---!-/-||

VERSES                                  DISTR. #    REPR. #

Recife. Ponte Buarque de Macedo.         2-6-10      2,4,4
Eu, indo em direccao a casa do Agra,     2-6-10      2,4,4
Assombrado com a minha sombra magra,     3-6-10      3,3,4
Pensava no Destino, e tinha medo!        2-6-10      2,4,4
Era como se, na alma da cidade,          3-6-10      3,3,4
Profundamente lubrica e revolta          2-6-10      2,4,4
Mostrando as carnes, uma besta solta     4-8-10      4,4,2
Soltasse o berro da animalidade.         4-8-10      4,4,2

While the Brazilian poet alternates Sapphic and Heroic verses (with some anapestic--3,3,4--variations of the Heroic), the decasyllabic rhythm is persistent and would perhaps become tedious if it were not for two of Anjos' characteristics: 1) enjambments and 2) scientific/biological vocabulary. The three stanzas below (the 4th, 23rd and 24th of the poem) display those aspects of Anjos's writing (biological lexicon is in bold and enjambment in italics):
   A noite fecundava o ovo dos vicios
   Animaes. Do carvao da treva immensa
   Cahia um ar damnado de doenca
   Sobre a cara geral dos edificios!

   E a saliva daquelles infelizes
   Inchava, em minha bocca, de tal arte,
   Que eu, para nao cuspir por toda parte,
   Ia engolindo, aos poucos, a hemoptisis!

   Na alta allucinacao de minhas scismas,
   O microcosmos liquido da gotta
   Tinha a abundancia de uma arteria rota,
   Arrebentada pelos aneurismas. (12)

The Brazilian poet would become known for his naturalistic words, mixing everyday terms with jargon that could be deemed unpoetic. The biological verbs (e.g. "fecundava") and nouns (e.g. "microcosmos"), whether purposefully unsophisticated ("saliva," "bocca", "cara," "cuspir") (13) or glaringly scientific ("hemoptisis," "microcosmos," "arteria," "aneurismas"), reveal wordchoices that, in 1920, didn't seem to belong in lyrical poetry.

New York City, 1929

Similarly to Pessoa, Federico Garcia Lorca was influenced by Walt Whitman; in fact, both Lorca and Pessoa/Campos dedicated free-verse odes to Whitman. Famous for his masterful use of meter in ballads, ghazals and sonnets, Lorca decided to venture into free verse upon visiting New York in 1929-1930. The result is the groundbreaking Poeta en Nova York (1940 and 2013).

The rhythm of Lorca's New York poems indeed resembles the free verse employed by Pessoa/ Campos, as it can be seen in the first five verses of "Paisaje de la Juventud que Vomita (Anochecer en Coney Island)," which is scanned below.

The long feet, the sudden contraction/expansion (from lines 2 to 4), the constant rhythmic variation, the repetitions, the syntactical packaging (as more and more predicates are attached to the initial subject)--these are all poetic gadgets from Whitman's toolbox, which Pessoa/Campos also used. Nevertheless, while the modernist-futurist city of Campos is at once ironic and ominous, Lorca's New York is surreal.

In "Danza de la Muerte" (Death Dance), another poem of Poeta en Nueva York, Lorca applies his free verse and surreal vocabulary to Wall Street, which had just suffered the crash of October 1929--something the poet had timely witnessed as the poem is dated December 1929. Lorca is particularly suited to represent this historic moment; he depicts an event that was then perceived as being surreal: the suddenly shattered sense of security of the USA's financial center. (14)
       \  /       /     /
La mujer gorda venia delante                      R# 4,3,3
      /            /         /                /
arrancando las raices y mojando el pergamino de
           /    ||
  los tambores;                                   R# 3,4,4,4,5
la mujer gorda                                    R# 4
       /           /         /             /    ||
que vuelve del reves los pulpos agonizantes.      R# 2,4,2,5
     \    /          /            /   ||
La mujer gorda, enemiga de la luna,               R# 4,4,4

Cantos            Years Indicated   pp.        pp. #

I                 1858              3-18       16
II                1858              19-44      26
III               1858              45-68      24
IV                1858              69-91      23
V                 1862              92-130     39
VI                1852-1857         131-146    16
VII               1857-1900         147-149    3*
VIII              1857-1870         150-162    13
IX                1871              163-185    23
X                 1873-188...       186-272    87
XI                1878              273-310    38
XII               1878              311-331    21*
Epilogue [XIII]   1880-1884         332-350    19*

Cantos            Meters besides decasyllables

II                +"WSI" (25-41)
III               +6 (46-51)
VI                +6 (132)
VII               +6 (148)
IX                +7 (166-167)
X                 +4 (217) +7 (221) +"WSI" (231-261)
XII               +7 (313-314)
Epilogue [XIII]   +4 (338-339) +7 (348)

New York City, 1873

Fifty years before Lorca, another foreign poet had visited New York City just in time to witness the first great depression to impact Wall Street (now called the "Panic of 1873"). While Lorca is widely known, the Brazilian poet Joaquim de Sousandrade only started gaining popularity in the 1960s due to the literary revision promoted by the Brazilian poets (and brothers) Augusto and Haroldo de Campos. (15)

Born in Brazil in 1833, Sousandrade lived in NYC from 1871 to 1879. His 350-page O Guesa was first published in NYC (1877); a revised edition was published in London (between 1884 and 1902). (16) As shown in the table below, the British edition displays years (which I interpret to be years of composition) as subtitles to each of the thirteen Cantos of O Guesa. Cantos VII, XII and XIII are incomplete. (17) The table also presents the page count for each Canto, and any meters employed besides the predominant decasyllable (e.g. +6 means that the Canto in question also contains hexasyllables on the pages in parentheses; "WSI" stands for "Wall Street Inferno," as shall be explained).

Guesa is a word from the Chibcha language, spoken by the native American Muisca people (encountered by the Spanish in 1537 in the central highlands of present-day Colombia). Guesa means "the one who errs, the one without home"; it is the name of the protagonist of a Muisca legend according to which the "guesa," robbed from his parents as a child should complete fifteen years of peregrination through the "Suna path" and then be offered in sacrifice to the Sun-god.

Sousandrade recreates the mythical journey of the guesa, mixing it with elements of his own life; after adventures all over the Americas--and 230 pages of poetry--, the guesa arrives on Wall Street, precisely during the "Panic of 1873", and this is where things get metrically interesting.

Most of Sousandrade's poem is written in decasyllables, hardly an innovation--even if one takes into account the occasional 4, 6 and 7 syllable-based verses that appear in a handful of pages. When the guesa arrives on Wall Street, though, the poetic form suddenly changes into a surprising arrangement that reflects the theme, i.e., the chaos of Wall Street in 1873; this part of O Guesa became known as the "Wall Street Inferno" (a title given by the Campos brothers in their studies of Sousandrade).

This new poetic form--I call it infernism--appears only twice throughout the saga, covering 17 pages of Canto II and 31 of Canto X. The use of this form in Canto II, unrelated to Wall Street, is a first experiment with the new rhythm, which reveals its full powers in Canto X. Below, the pages are reproduced in which the meter changes as guesa enters the Wall Street Inferno.

In his study of the poem, Hardman (18) argued that the infernisms (my term, not Hardman's) constitute only 14% of the book (this includes the infernisms of Cantos || and X. Alone, the "Wall Street Inferno" of Canto X represents 9% of O Guesa). (19) Given the relatively small presence of the new form in the whole poem, Hardman concludes that "El tonus dominante sigue siendo el del epico-dramatico en el mejor linaje romantico". (20)

Nevertheless, considering the climatic position of the "Wall Street Inferno," I propose a different reading: the relatively small proportion of infernisms makes this poetic form even more remarkable (by contrast); opposing the thousands of decasyllables, one encounters the dense, special and dramatic katabasis into Wall Street.

Below is a proposed scansion of the transition from decasyllables to infernisms in O Guesa, as well as two more infernistic stanzas (the 5th and 28th, counting from the arrival on Wall Street; note the caesura symbols are omitted).

On page 231 of O Guesa, the stanzas of four heroic decasyllables give way to very different stanzas, which present the following formal attributes:

1) one paragraph of prose within parentheses, of varying length, naming (as one would in drama) the characters who voice the subsequent verses;

2) five verses spoken by the characters mentioned in the initial prose paragraph, frequently involving more than one voice (different voices are indicated by alternating dashes and double dashes);

3) a movement of contraction-and-expansion in the size of verses, following the overall pattern long-long-short-shorter-long, with a fixed number of feet but not of syllables for each of the five verses (3/3/2/1/3-feet);

4) flexibility of types of feet (iambs, trochees, anapests, dactyls ...);

5) a rhyme scheme ABCCB, including rhymes across languages.

There is, thus, some sort or order in the chaos of Sousandrade's Wall Street; an order that sprouts from disorder, that represents a fluid geography and that allows for the babble and the Babel of our human cities.


1. Anjos, Augusto dos. Eu (poesias completas). Paraiba do Norte: n/a, 1920.

2. Anjos, Augusto dos. Eu. Rio de Janeiro: self-published, 1912.

3. Britto, Paulo Henriques. "Para uma tipologia do verso livre em portugues e ingles." Revista Brasileira de Literatura Comparada, no. 19 (2011): 127-44.

4. Buescu, Helena Carvalhao. "Introducao--Cesario: modos de inventar o mundo." In Cesario Verde-Canticos do Realismo--O Livro de Cesario Verde. Coordinated by Carlos Reis. Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda, 2015.

5. Campos, Augusto de and Haroldo de Campos. Re/ visao de sousandrade. Sao Paulo: Invencao, 1964.

6. Campos, Augusto de. "cidade/city/cite (1963)." CD Poesia e Risco. Amsterdam; New York: PolyGram/Mercury, 1995. watch?v=kXK5HYpFThA

7. Drummond, Adriano Lima and Jose Americo Miranda. "O alexandrino portugues." In O eixo e a roda, vol. 14. Belo Horizonte: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, 2007.

8. Hardman, Francisco Foot. "Espectros de la nacion: Figuras desplazadas entre 'saudades' y soledades." In Remate de males, vol. 22. Sao Paulo: Unicamp, 2002.

9. Lorca, Federico Garcia. Poet in New York (Poeta en Nueva York)--a bilingual edition. Translated by Pablo Medina and Mark Statman. New York: Grove Press, 2008.

10. Lorca, Federico Garcia. Poeta en Nueva York. Edited by Andrew Anderson. Barcelona: Galaxia Gutenberg & Circulo de Lectores, 2013.

11. Lorca, Federico Garcia. Poeta en Nueva York. Mexico City: Seneca, 1940.

12. Mourao-Ferreira, David and Natalina Oliveira do Carmo, Orgs.. Cesario Verde--Boletim Cultural VI, no. 7 (1986).

13. Mourao-Ferreira, David. "Notas sobre Cesario Verde." In Hospital das Letras. Lisbon: Guimaraes, 1966.

14. Olson, Charles. "Projective Verse." In Collected Prose. Edited by Donald Allen and Benjamin Friedlander. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997 [1950].

15. Pessoa, Fernando "Ode Triunfal--Alvaro de Campos." In Orpheu 1. Lisbon: Monteiro & C.a, 1915.

16. Pinsky, Robert. The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.

17. Sousandrade, Joaquim de. O Guesa. London: Cooke & Halsted/The Moorfields Press, undated (c. 1888).

18. Sousandrade, Joaquim de. O inferno de Wall Street. Edited by Augusto de Campos and Haroldo de Campos. Sao Paulo: Invencao, 1964.

19. Sousandrade, Joaquim de. Poesia. Edited by Augusto de Campos and Haroldo de Campos. Rio de Janeiro: Agir, 1966.

20. Spitzer, Leo. La enumeracion caotica en la poesia moderna. Translated by Raimundo Lida. Buenos Aires: Coni, 1945.

21. Verde, Cesario. O livro de Cesario Verde: 1873-1886. Edited by Silva Pinto. Lisbon: Typographia Elzevirian, 1887.

Recibido: 15 de febrero de 2016; Aprobado: 24 de agosto de 2017; Modificado: 08 de septiembre de 2017


Carlos Pittella


Brown University, Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies; Universidade de Lisboa, Centro de Estudos de Teatro.

(1) Campos, "cidade/city/cite".

(2) Olson, "Projective Verse", 243-244.

(3) Pinsky, The Sounds of Poetry, 29.

(4) Buesco, "Introducao--Cesario;" Mourao-Ferreira and Carmo, Cesario Verde; Mourao-Ferreira, "Notas sobre Cesario Verde."

(5) Distributive and Representative Numbers (D# and R# respectively) are given as sequences of figures separated by hyphens (D#) and by unspaced commas (R#).

(6) The Azorean poet Joao Cabral de Melo has also been given credit for being a pioneer of alexandrine verse in Portuguese. Drummond and Miranda, "O alexandrino portugues," 20.

(7) Britto, "Para uma tipologia do verso livre," 134.

(8) Spitzer, La enumeracion caotica en la poesia moderna.

(9) Britto, "Para uma tipologia do verso livre," 129.

(10) Ibid., 135-136.

(11) For the sake of simplicity, I omitted the unstressed syllable sign and marked alliterations in bold/italics or with underlines. "R#" are representative numbers (indicative of the amount of syllables in each foot); twice we have indicated a 5- syllable foot in this stanza, which would, in practical terms, be broken into two smaller feet of 2,3 or 3,2 syllables, depending on how one goes about reciting the verses.

(12) Anjos, Eu (poesias completas), 27, 30, and 31.

(13) The words "bocca," "saliva" and "cuspir" evoke the last verse of Anjos's most famous sonnet, "Versos Intimos," which ends in "Escarra nessa bocca que te beija" (ANJOS, 1920: 129).

(14) Lorca, Poet in New York, 93-103.

(15) Campos and Campos, Re/Visao de Sousandrade

(16) There is uncertainty regarding the year the British edition was released, as the book does not display a date. It is post 1884; some suggest c. 1888 (Hardman, "Espectros de la nacion," 88 and 96), noting that the ed. would be the most complete one made during the poet's lifetime. I raise the possibility that the British edition may have been published later, between 1900 and 1902, which would still be during the poet's lifetime. Note the years added as a subtitle to Canto VII ("1857-1900"), which suggest that the poet was still working on the book in 1900.

(17) On page 350, there is a note indicating that Cantos VII, XII and XIII are incomplete (hence the asterisks by their page totals): "(Ficam interrompidos os cantos VII, XII, XIII, do poema do Guesa)."

(18) Hardman, "Espectros de la nacion," 91-92.

(19) I remade Hardman's calculations and obtained the same figures; nevertheless, both of us calculated the percentages by using the relative numbers of pages (and not of verses)--so the numbers may be slightly different if one took the time to gauge the exact verse-proportions.

(20) Hardman, "Espectros de la nacion," 92.

Caption: Figure 1. First and last pages of "Ode Triunfal" in Orpheu I, 1915.

Caption: Figure 2. First and last pages of "As Scismas do Destino". Source: Anjos, Eu (poesias completas).

Caption: Figure 3. Poetic form morphing in O Guesa; SOUSANDRADE, c. 1888: 230-231.
VERSES                                          SCANSION

Romanticos nos vi, noite bailando              -/---/ \--/-
  Do Brocken no Amazona antigamente;           -/---/---/-
  Heis classica Pharsalia em dia algente       -/---/-/-/-
  No Hudson. Para o Guesa perlustrando.        -/-/-/---/-
Bebe a taberna as sombras da muralha,           \--/-/---/-
  Malsolida talvez, de Jericho,                -/---/---/
  Defesa contra o Indio--E s'escangalha        -/---/---/-
  De Wall-Street ao ruir toda New-York:        -/---/ \--/
(O GUESA, tendo atravessado as ANTILHAS,        (prose paragraph)
  livre dos XEQUES e penetra em NEW-YORK
  STOCK-EXCHANGE; a VOZ dos desertos:)
--Orpheu, Dante, AEneas, ao inferno            -/ \--/---/-
Desceram; o Inca ha de subir.                  -/--/---/
  =Ogni sp'ranza lasciate,                      \-/---/-
     Che entrate ...                           -/-
--Swedenborg, ha mundo porvir?                 --/-/--/
(NORRIS, Attorney; CODEZO, inventor; YOUNG,     (prose paragraph)
  manager; ATKINSON, agent; ARMSTRONG, agent;
  RODHES, agent; P. OFFMAN & VOLDO, agents;
  algazarra, miragem; ao meio, o GUESA:)
--Dois! trez! cinco mil! se jogardes,           \ \ /-/--/-
  Senhor, tereis cinco milhoes!                -/-/ \--/
    = Ganhou! ha! haa! haaa!                   -/ \ \ /
    --Hurrah! ah!...                           \-/
 --Sumiram. seriam ladroes?.                  -/--/--/
(OSCAR-BARAO em domingo atravessando a          (prose paragraph)
    TRINDADE, assestando o binoclo,
    resmirando, resmungando de tableaux
    vivants, cortejando: o povo levao a
    trambolhoes para fora da egreja:)
--Cobra! cobra! (What so big a noise?!...)      \-/-/-\-/
Era o meu relogio... perdao!.                   /-\-/--/
Sao pulgas em Bod....                          -/--/
      Me acode!!                               -/
=God? Cod! Sir, we mob; you go dam!             \ / \-/--/

VERSES                                          DISTR. #   REPR. #

Romanticos nos vi, noite bailando               2-6-10     2,4,4
  Do Brocken no Amazona antigamente;            2-6-10     2,4,4
  Heis classica Pharsalia em dia algente        2-6-8-10   2,4,2,2
  No Hudson. Para o Guesa perlustrando.         2-4-6-10   2,2,2,4
Bebe a taberna as sombras da muralha,           4-6-10     4,2,4
  Malsolida talvez, de Jericho,                 2-6-10     2,4,4
  Defesa contra o Indio--E s'escangalha         2-6-10     2,4,4
  De Wall-Street ao ruir toda New-York:         2-6-10     2,4,4
(O GUESA, tendo atravessado as ANTILHAS,
  livre dos XEQUES e penetra em NEW-YORK
  STOCK-EXCHANGE; a VOZ dos desertos:)
--Orpheu, Dante, zineas, ao inferno             2-6-10     2,4,4
Desceram; o Inca ha de subir.                   2-5-9      2,3,4
  =Ogni sp'ranza lasciate,                      3-7        3,4
     Che entrate...                             2          2
--Swedenborg, ha mundo porvir?                  3-5-8      3,2,3
(NORRIS, Attorney; CODEZO, inventor; YOUNG,
  manager; ATKINSON, agent; ARMSTRONG, agent;
  RODHES, agent; P. OFFMAN & VOLDO, agents;
  algazarra, miragem; ao meio, o GUESA:)
--Dois! trez! cinco mil! se jogardes,           3-5-8      3,2,3
  Senhor, tereis cinco milhoes!                 2-4-8      2,2,4
    = Ganhou! ha! haa! haaa!                    2-5        2,3
    --Hurrah! ah!...                           3          3
 --Sumiram. seriam ladroes?.                   2-5-8      2,3,3
[...]                                                      2-5-8
(OSCAR-BARAO em domingo atravessando a
    TRINDADE, assestando o binoclo,
    resmirando, resmungando de tableaux
    vivants, cortejando: o povo levao a
    trambolhoes para fora da egreja:)
--Cobra! cobra! (What so big a noise?!...)      3-5-9      3,2,4
Era o meu relogio... perdao!.                   1-5-8      2,3,3/3,2,3
Sao pulgas em Bod....                           2-5        2,3
      Me acode!!                                2          2
=God? Cod! Sir, we mob; you go dam!             2-5-8      2,3,3
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Title Annotation:Articulo de reflexion
Author:Pittella, Carlos
Publication:DEARQ - Revista de Arquitectura de la Universidad de los Andes
Date:Dec 1, 2017
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