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Poetry and technique: concrete poetry in Brazil.

Abstract. Drawing on the writings of leading participants such as Joao Cabral de Melo Neto, this article examines the emergence of Concrete Poetry in postwar Brazil. Although literacy was then rapidly increasing, the status of poetry was challenged by the new media, such as film, that drew mass audiences. Responding to this challenge, Concrete Poetry did not retreat into a Classical revival, but aimed at a style of verse rooted in the realities of modern technology, and capable of being popular. It thus claimed to be true not only to its time, but also to its literary heritage--a heritage that was in fact validated rather than betrayed by its modernity.

Keywords. Concrete poetry; Brazil; Mass Media

Resumo. Aproveitando-se de textos dos seus praticantes mais marcantes, tais como Joao Cabral de Melo Neto, este artigo examina o aparecimento da Poesia Concreta no Brasil do pos-guerra. Apesar de uma forte subida na taxa de alfabetismo, a situacao da poesia foi posta em causa pelas novas formas de comunicacao, exemplificadas pelo cinema, que chegavam a uma audiencia de massa. Respondendo ao desafio, a Poesia Concreta nao optou por uma ressurgencia classica, mas antes esbocou um estilo de poesia radicado nas realidades da tecnologia moderna, com capacidade de captar as massas. Garantiu assim ser fiel nao so ao seu proprio tempo mas a sua heranca artistica tambem--heranca esta que ficava, de facto, mais valorizada que traida pela modernidade dela.

Palavras chave. Poesia Concreta; Brasil; Comunicacao de Massa

The last years of the Brazilian Empire and the two first decades of the Republic, proclaimed in 1889, marked the high point of Parnassian poetry in Brazil. At that time, a phenomenon without precedents in the cultural history of the country was taking place: writers became professionals, mainly through their work in the press, and became prominent public figures. Literary life attracted broader attention, even defining what should be fashionable. Especially after the declaration of the Republic, linguistic norms and the formation of standardized cultivated language became the chief object of attention and debates, as an instrument of national unity and civilization. Meanwhile literature was made into an institution, a process that led to the foundation, in 1897, of the Academia Brasileira de Letras [Brazilian Academy of Letters] by Machado de Assis, who would become its lifelong president. To use the term Antonio Candido employed in describing the history of Brazilian literature, we should celebrate Parnassianism as the moment when literature was fully constituted as a system. In this system, author and public interacted through a style and a set of themes widely divulged and accepted as an ideal of culture. (1)

Soon after World War I, however, and with the emergence of the Modernist Movement in the Week of Modern Art, in 1922, Parnassian and Realist prose and poetry--but especially poetry--were harshly attacked by the new writers more identified with European avant-garde ideals. The Week, Modernism's emblematic moment, can also be seen as inaugurating a new phase in national culture after the Parnassian success. It is the moment of the vanguards, whose most evident characteristic, from the point of view of reception, is the divorce between the writer and the public. The event was greeted with uproar, which undoubtedly marked a rejection of, or aesthetic resistance to, the new, as well as a protest against the break-up of what the 'bourgeoisie' saw as a cultural pact, since the young vanguards noisily discarded and dismissed the literary ideals and values formerly presented as a path to civilization, in the Republic's early years. That is why the greater part of this public remained loyal to Parnassian authors, and hostile or indifferent to the first generation of Modernists. That is also why Parnassian revivals appear throughout the history of Brazilian poetry, right up to the present day.

After 1930, Modernist literature gained a greater public with the so-called 'generation of 1930'. That was the moment when the novel from the Northeastern region and poetry in free verse gained ground, bringing out the work of Brazilian writers such as Jorge Amado, Graciliano Ramos, Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Cecilia Meireles, to name just a few. In 1945, with the end of World War II, the Modernist period came to an end and literature no longer seemed to have the same importance in shaping Brazilian culture. In the literary field, a new generation started to emerge at this time, explicitly identifying themselves as 'the generation of 1945', in order to mark the post-war period. They shared a clear nostalgia for Classicism, in line with the world-wide tendency of the time, and promoted a kind of Parnassian revival regarding tone, and a renewed interest in the established forms of poetic tradition in the Portuguese language. However, the high point of the literary system in the early Republican period had already passed, and the general impression, which would strengthen greatly in the 1950s, was that the new period was characterized by the disappearance of a wider public interest in literature. In the second half of the twentieth century this theme is so persistent in considerations about poetry, especially by the poets themselves, that it seems difficult to understand the actual movement of recent Brazilian literature--especially poetry--without taking that decline in public interest into account.

This article focuses on this decline, starting with a consideration of the propositions of the most significant of the poets that emerged in 1945, Joao Cabral de Melo Neto. It then goes on to analyse the response by Concrete Poetry to the challenges of that time, focusing on the place of poetry in a world dominated by technology and the culture industry.

Cabral and the Function of Modern Poetry

In 1954, in the city of Sao Paulo, as part of the city's 400th anniversary celebrations, an important International Congress of Writers was held, promoted by the organizing committee of the festivities and sponsored by UNESCO. At the session dedicated to poetry, in a paper presented on 11 August entitled 'Notes on the Nipponization of Poetry', Aderbal Jurema reviewed that literary moment, stating that the new generation had reacted very badly to the challenges of modern times. According to him, the new writers loved to boast of a reactionary attitude: instead of fully living the 'drama of the boundaries of technique', they took refuge in a 'suicidal craft', which placed poetry far beyond the public, and which kept a place only within the literary 'camaraderie of the Sunday supplement'.

The issue of the declining public for literature ran through most of the speeches dedicated to poetry, no matter what the speaker's nationality was. What distinguished the Brazilian speakers was their emphasis on a causal relationship between the divorce of author and his public and the growth of new means of mass communication; that is, a perception that there was fierce competition between refined and mass culture, to the clear detriment of the former. By way of example, this is how Afranio Coutinho, one of the most distinguished men of letters in the country, expressed his point of view:

Is it natural that today's artist, just because he does not want to get involved with inferior forms, or just because he fears that new methods of diffusion will endanger his dignity--is it natural for the artist to excuse himself from participating, to avoid producing, to remain silent, and not compete? To me it seems not. The artist's duty is to adapt to new conditions, while, naturally, safeguarding his integrity and his standards of quality. If the new ways are considered wicked, then to run away, to isolate oneself from them, is to give them over to the devil. This is not what the spirit should do. Rather it should defeat the prince of darkness. (2)

At that very time, the competition between the arts and the culture industry merited the analytical attention of another highly acclaimed critic, Antonio Candido, who addressed the problem in a text published in two parts, the first part published in the year prior to the Congress and the second in the year following it. The title of the text was 'Literature and Culture from 1900 to 1945'. (3) In that well-known text, Candido stated that from 1930 onwards there had been a noticeable increase in the literature-reading public, due to improvements in education and a decline in illiteracy. However, he said, 'as this new public increased it was at the same time being swiftly won over by the great development of new means of communication'; amongst these he identified the radio, cinema and comic books. And he went on:

Before consolidation of instruction could fully consolidate the divulgation of literary literature (so to speak), those means of communication--thanks to the spoken word, images and sound (which can overcome what in the written text are limitations for those who are not accustomed to a certain tradition)--enabled an ever greater number of people to participate more readily in that share of dreams and emotion that used to assure the traditional prestige of books. (4)

Finally, the critic pointed out two extreme responses to the situation: on the one hand, the temptation to reach the public by bringing literature closer to daily life, in order to compete with the radio and the news paper, or, on the other hand, to accentuate the distinctiveness of literary literature, further restricting access to it by a part of the general public.

To expand and win over the public was the great problem of that time. Since 1952, this issue had gained the attention of one of the most renowned poets amongst those who started writing in the 1940s, Joao Cabral de Melo Neto. In that year, 1952, in a talk entitled 'Poesia e Composicao' [Poetry and Composition], given at the City Library in Sao Paulo--an emblematic place for the Modernist movement--Cabral, too, dealt with the problem of communication in post-war literature, focusing on the question of poetry. (5) In that talk, Cabral started by contrasting two kinds of composition, which he called 'inspired' and 'constructive', from which two families of poets would derive. For the ones from the 'inspiration family' poetry would be a revelation, something that happened to the poet. For the ones belonging to the 'construction family' poetry would be the result of a search, and a diligent elaboration. What drives this opposition--which in a certain sense re-adopts Schiller's typology of poetry as being either ingenuous or sentimental--is the contrast Cabral draws between the modern condition and the 'happy times' of the pre-modern, now lost. In those 'times of balance', he says, spontaneous literary production implies 'identification with the community', 'the work of art includes inspiration', rules of composition are explicit and universally accepted, 'the demand from society towards authors is great' and, because of all this, communication is the central concern of literary practice. On the other hand, in modernity the conditions are just the opposite: what defines modernity is the losing of readers (and of criticism, the embodiment of the reader) as 'a writer's indispensable counterpart'. Without this controlling factor the two kinds of composition diverge in a radical opposition, generating distinctive and distant poetic families. They are condemned, however, to meet in a solipsist isolation derived from 'the death of communication', following the development of their tendencies (that is, after the 'inspired' exhaust themselves in their 'babbling', unable to grasp the ineffable, and the 'builders' are drawn into a furious craftsmanship that leads to 'the suicide of absolute intimacy'). In the face of this modernity, described almost as a dead end, Cabral opted not for the spontaneous pole, but the constructive one. And he did this strictly as the confirmation and ultimate development of the modern condition, because he believed that the constructive poet would take individualism to its logical conclusion, in as much as that he would fix upon, as final reference point in his writing, 'the consciousness of other poets' dictions that he wants to avoid, the sharp consciousness of what in his voice is an echo and must be eliminated at any cost'. (6)

This is the topic Cabral took up again in a thesis he read at the Congress in 1954 and in which he pointed out the relationship between poetry and new means of mass communication. In this text, although Cabral still affirmed the multi-shaped nature of 'modern poetry', he believed it was possible to find common ground with contemporary practices: a 'spirit of formal experimentation'. As in his speech at the City Library, two years earlier, he argued in terms of the opposition between 'the two families of poets'. But what was relevant to him now was that neither of the families was engaged in promoting the 'adjustment of the poem to its possible function'. As a consequence, contemporary poetry had become bland and 'intransitive' in the face of the requirements of the time. The imperative task, he said, was to seek a meaningful function for the poem in the modern reader's life, whether by adapting to new means of communication (radio, cinema and television), or by returning to forms that could intensify the communication with the reader, such as narrative poetry, the Catalan aucas (which he considered the precursors of the comic book), fables, satirical poetry and song lyrics. Bearing that in mind, he ended his text by urging the poets to challenge 'the abyss that currently separates the poet from his reader', by discarding intimist and individualist themes and by developing more functional forms that would 'lead poetry to modern man's doorstep'.

Concrete Poetry

When the proceedings of the International Congress were finally published, in 1957, Cabral's considerations had already found a wide-ranging programmatic response, based on a radical turn towards the integration of poetry into modern daily life. It was a response whose presentation, fine-tuning and transformation would constitute the dynamic core of Brazilian poetry over the next fifty years: Concrete Poetry.

In order to understand the specificity of the movement it is necessary to examine two texts by Augusto de Campos, published in 1955. (7) In these texts, which develop a single line of argument, Augusto affirms the existence of a main line of evolution in modern poetry, from which Concrete Poetry was descended, and to which it responded . At the end of the second text, 'Poema, Ideograma' [Poem, Ideogram], he wrote:

The truth is that Mallarme's 'prismatic subdivisions of the Idea', Pound's ideogram method, Joyce's simultaneity and Cummings' verbal mimicry converge in a new concept of composition--a science of archetypes and structures; in a new concept of form--an ORGANOFORMA [organiform]--in which traditional notions such as beginning, middle, end, and syllogism tend to disappear before the poetic-gestalt, poetic-musical, poetic-ideogram idea of the STRUCTURE. (8)

At the outset of the project, then, the new poetry was not presented as an attempt to overcome the abyss between author and public. In fact, the poetry was situated at the opposite pole, demanding that the reader struggle to grasp erudite references so that he could appreciate avantgarde art as a result of 'an intense craving for cultural-morphological overcoming', as Haroldo de Campos would put it. (9) Hence the new poetry should demand hard and devoted work from both author and reader; the revival of traditional forms, which characterized the Generation of 1945, was strongly condemned by Haroldo. (10)

The next step of the project involved one of the most interesting and contentious issues in the programme for Concrete Poetry, as it was presented on the occasion of the launching of the national movement: to make the need for 'cultural-morphological' evolution coincide with the demands of a modern world, marked by technology and dominated by the means of mass communication. That is, to ensure that a type of poetry elaborated according to the most negative precept, namely repudiation of the reader--as in Mallarme's poetry--and articulated along the lines of Joyce's craftsmanship, could also provide a means for the positive integration of poetry into the industrial world. In other words, to ensure that the poetry which laid claim to a highly erudite origin could simultaneously be the poetry most suited to direct communication with a lay and culturally unsophisticated readership. In this optic, the crisis of the verse in poetry and the abyss between author and public were explained by the inadequacy of the verse to modern times. It was no longer sufficient that the form of verses should evolve in a merely competent and acceptable manner, as these did not guarantee their modernity. The evolution of form should now be valued and understood in accordance with the appropriation and usage of the available technological resources, which were at the same time the way to secure the position of poetry in a world of industrial objects. (11)

Concrete Poetry, thus, takes up again the issue discussed by Joao Cabral de Melo Neto at the 1954 Congress. As far as his own considerations are concerned, however, there are considerable differences, both on the fundamentals and in emphasis. The first difference is the rejection of verse--that is, of the whole arsenal of traditional forms--as a strategy to recover the communicability of poetry in modern times. That strategy can be summed up as the integration of poetry with the mass media and the principles on which they were based. Cabral's opposition between 'expression' and 'construction' is sharpened, with the disqualification of the former pole and with the absolute affirmation of the latter as the only one adequate to the new times. Economy, objectivity and swiftness were the keywords of that moment of Concrete Poetry in order to achieve the integration of poetry into everyday life, as an object of industrial consumption. (12)

In the years immediately following the Exposicao Nacional de Arte Concreta [National Exposition of Concrete Art], in 1956, the emphasis on the rational, economical and integrated features of a poem would tend to be replaced, through a change in how to understand the new poetry in the first texts of those who joined the Noigandres group. After those initial moments, the utility of a poem, as a vehicle of commercial advertising or as an ornament of modern architecture, would not be emphasized any more. As Haroldo was already saying, in May 1957, the concrete poem would make use of a 'language accustomed to communicate the world of things as rapidly, as clearly and as efficiently as possible', in order to 'create a form', to create 'a parallel world to the world of things--the poem'. (13)

Augusto de Campos wrote in a similar vein, marking a significant change of perspective regarding the integration of poetry into everyday life and the winning-over of the public:

Even when circumstantially divorced from the general public, as it is today (and in this case the social mission of poetry would be limited to a level more allegorical than real), one may believe that poetry can intervene, even if only a posteriori, as time permits the absorption of new forms, in the sense of at least offsetting the atrophying of a language relegated to a merely communicative function. (14)

Technique is thus of the utmost importance to the Concrete Poetry project; as is the question of communication. What changes drastically in the first years of the development of the Concrete Poetry project is, on one hand, the nature and the place of technique, and on the other hand, what is communicated by means of technique. In its second phase, the concrete poem, as an independent object, 'parallel to the world of things', would first of all communicate its own new form. And that form alone.

The turning point is the introduction of an allegorical formulation. Into the relationship between concrete poetry as tradition and concrete poetry in the contemporary world--and this, therefore, is the key to the vexed question of how to make the cultivated vanguard and mass media art join up--a kind of 'as-if' rule is now established. The concrete poem is produced as if it were an industrial product. At the same time it must be read as what it claims to be: the refined heir to the main line of evolution in Western literature. It is up to the reader--naturally taken to be a reader who is well-versed in culture--to gather together the suggestive elements of those connections to build up 'the probable content-structure related to the structure-content of the concrete poem'. (15)

Poetry as Technological Scene and Refined Utopia

However, for Concrete Poetry, its claim to represent the highest, the most perfectly up-to-date stage of a line of literary evolution rested on its adaptation to its own time. That is why there is a strengthening of the homologies between poetic technique (Mallarme and Cummings' use of space, Simias of Rhodes' and Apollinaire's calligram, Carroll's and Joyce's portmanteau word, paronomasia) and the technique of the mass media and new technological resources (the visual appeal of newspapers and posters, the typographic possibilities of Letraset and the computer, the effects of holography and television). (16) Since it is the 'structure' that really communicates, technique comes to the foreground. The poem does not communicate something through a technique; what the poem communicates is the technique itself--that is, the literary technique, which is brought to the reader.

In contrast to a merely industrial technique (which, in this second phase, Concrete Poetry does not try to imitate or to incorporate any more, but to anticipate), what defines a technique as literary is its insertion in an evolutionary vector constructed by literary and theoretical discourse--a wholly literary vector that runs parallel to the historical vector that determines the forms of industrial communication. Due to this need for distinction, which implies the assertion of the autonomous nature of literary development in manifestos and theoretical texts, the concrete 'explanation' of the poem is reduced to the exposition of its technical basis, to an analysis of the poem's technical functioning, and to the definition of that basis and of the specific techniques of production employed, within a framework of the evolution in the procedures of erudite literary practice. That is to say, in the conjunction or the affirmation of the homology between those two tendencies, the erudite one stands out, since not only is Concrete Poetry meant to be 'poetry'--and not an object of the industrial world--but it also claims to be the only consequential poetry of contemporary times. On the other hand, the assumption that it is the only truly contemporary poetry of the present time makes one also assume the equivalence of the differing present times along the temporal axis: for each period it would be possible to distinguish the 'concrete poetry' of its time, that is, the poetry that (in relation to that time) occupied the same place that Concrete Poetry does today. The affirmation of this equivalence is due not only to the theoretical discourse that defines the 'precursors', but mainly by way of the translation, which makes particular periods in the past equivalent to the present of Concrete Poetry. The polemic in which Concrete Poetry is engaged is thus always a double one: it involves a question of legitimacy or right--the right of an object which encourages the superposition of the erudite and the industrial to lay claim to the name, and the tradition, of poetry; and it also involves a question of exclusivity--claiming that only poetry that performs this superposition is both contemporary and valid.

So by making the technical issue the real core of the poem, technology (and its incorporation and combination with the erudite), being the element that defines its contemporaneity, turns out to be the truly modern feature of the concrete poem. Thus, at the same time, there are the proposition and the claim a) that Concrete Poetry is the radical and self-conscious modernization of an old experience: the experience of poetic invention, that is, the experience of poetry; and b) that it is an affirmation of the radical difference between past and present, because the technique that offers itself as spectacle is based not only on erudition, but mainly on technology. The main aporia of concrete practice derives from this last proposition.

In order to expose this aporia one must take into consideration the fact that the 'technological technique', by its own nature, changes more rapidly than poetry's 'traditional technique'. Meanwhile, the process of technique advance is held back by the controlling hand of authorship, which the concrete poem does not give up. However, the 'technological technique' is contrary to, or foreign to, the notion of authorship. For that very reason, with the passage of time the importance of the spectacle of 'technological technique' tends to sink rapidly to zero--in the world of cybernetics and the mass media it is a short step from being bang up to date to being museum-fodder. And in fact, this step is the hidden driving force behind not only the perception and satisfaction of a restless modernity, but also the manufacture and sale of cultural equipment and cultural content.

It is due to this need for authorship, and to the assumption that literary and technological technique can, and should, coincide--and furthermore, that tradition, the repository of western literature's evolution of form, must be present at the moment of the concrete poem's decodification--that the more radical experiments now seem dated and of merely historical interest. The technical aspects of experiments, such as poems with holograms, computer punched cards and synthesized sounds, already seem strikingly 'old-fashioned' to anyone who is familiar with the technological world--and that familiarity became virtually universal with the spread of personal computers in the 1980s and the development of the World Wide Web in the 1990s.

As a consequence, there is another relevant and very disturbing aspect: that concrete poems that stemmed directly from computer technology are of interest today only as historical documents, since their old and outdated style (from the technical point of view) makes them belong more appropriately in a museum of science and technology than to in anthology of poetry.

On the other hand, the ones that are read not only, or mainly, as witnesses to a technological past are the ones in which the typography or the typology comes to the foreground, such as those from the orthodox phase, such as Decio's ideograms, Augusto's 'package poems'; or those in which the craft (and anti-industrial) character is more noticeable, such as 'Poetamenos' [Poet minus], 'Poemobiles' [Poemobiles] or 'Caixa preta' [Black box]; or those in which the 'erudite technique' surpasses the 'technological technique', such as 'A maquina do mundo repensada' [The world's machine reconsidered] and 'Crisantempo' [Crysanthetime].

The point of honour of the concrete programme, the absorption of technique into the terms of reference of erudite culture, turns to be more and more an impossible mission, a challenge that was lost. From this there results not only a preference for a place of retreat (all the mature work of Augusto de Campos revolves around the idea of resistance, denial, withdrawal from present concerns), (17) but also a touch of nostalgia and melancholy that runs through all of the last phase of concrete poetry. In this sense, the decisive experience is in seeing computer animation, in the computerized versions of concrete poems. The slow rhythm gives these exercises a strange solemnity, because it is taken seriously, with no trace of fun or parody. Compared to musical video-clips, for instance, which are extremely fast, and to the anonymous animations on internet, the concrete poem simultaneously suffers from precarious technological means and resources (which is rather fatal for a poem, since it aims to survive in its 'artistic' embodiment), and from the displacement of meaning that this precariousness causes to its own kernel, that is, its avant-garde character as a forward-looking object, as a way of organizing its perception of the present.

In an era of widespread digital visualization, Concrete Poetry is unable to reproduce the alliance between the techniques of avant-garde literature and of high technology. And, although there was a time when that alliance seemed possible, today it is definitely not so. So, increasingly, Concrete Poetry itself appears, not as it saw itself, and was seen by contemporaries, as a denial of humanism, but, on the contrary, as one of the last sighs of utopian humanism, a flash of optimistic brilliance by a modernity that was coming to an end.

(1) See 'Olavo Bilac e a unidade do Brasil republicano', in T. F. Earle (org.), Actas do V Congresso da Associacao Internacional de Lusitanistas, 3 vols (Oxford/Coimbra: Associacao Internacional de Lusitanistas, 1998), ii, 697-706.

(2) Congresso Internacional de Escritores e Encontros Intelectuais (Sao Paulo: Anhembi, 1957), pp. 150-01.

(3) In Literatura e sociedade (Sao Paulo: Editora Nacional, 1975), pp. 109-38.

(4) Literatura e sociedade, p. 137.

(5) Joao Cabral de Melo Neto, 'Poesia e composicao', in Prosa (Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1998), pp. 51-70.

(6) Ibid, p. 66.

(7) 'Poesia, estrutura' and 'Poema, ideograma', published on 20 and 27 March 1955, respectively, in the newspaper Diario de Sao Paulo. Both texts were reprinted in Augusto de Campos et al., Mallarme (Sao Paulo: Perspectiva/Edusp, 1974), pp. 177-86.

(8) 'Poema, ideograma', in Mallarme, p. 186.

(9) Haroldo de Campos, 'Poesia e paraiso perdido', in Diario de Sao Paulo, 5 June 1955; reprinted in Augusto de Campos, Decio Pignatari and Haroldo de Campos, Teoria da poesia concreta: textos criticos e manifestos 1950-1960, 2nd edn (Sao Paulo: Duas Cidades, 1975), pp. 26-29.

(10) Ibid., pp. 27-28.

(11) See, for instance, Decio Pignatari, 'nova poesia: concreta', published in the magazine ad-arquitetura e decoracao, Sao Paulo, Nov/Dec 1956, and reprinted on 5 May 1957 in the Sunday Supplement of the Jornal do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro. Reprinted in Augusto de Campos et al., Teoria da poesia concreta, pp. 41-43.

(12) Cf. Haroldo de Campos, 'olho por olho a olho nu' [an eye for an eye with a naked eye], a manifesto published in the magazine ad- arquitetura e decoracao, Sao Paulo, Nov/Dec 1956, and reprinted on 28 April 1957 in the Sunday Supplement of the Jornal do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro. Reprinted in Augusto de Campos et al., Teoria da poesia concreta, pp. 46-48.

(13) Haroldo de Campos, 'Poesia concreta--linguagem--comunicacao', text published on 28 April and 5 May 1957, in the Sunday Supplement of the Jornal do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro; reprinted in Augusto de Campos et al., Teoria da poesia concreta, pp. 70-85.

(14) Augusto de Campos, 'A moeda concreta da fala', text published in the Sunday Supplement of the Jornal do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro on 1 September 1957; reprinted in Augusto de Campos et al., Teoria da poesia concreta, pp. 111-22.

(15) Haroldo de Campos, 'Poesia concreta--linguagem--comunicacao', in Augusto de Campos et al., Teoria da poesia concreta, p. 73.

(16) A significant set of poems by Augusto de Campos, including not only the reproductions of some of his early works, but also an excellent set of examples of his experiments in computerized animation can be found on the author's authorized site at There are a few poems by Haroldo de Campos and Decio Pignatari online but it is not possible to reproduce them here. That is why I strongly recommend that readers less familiar with Brazilian Concrete Poetry should visit the address above, so not only can they have a complete view of the several movement phases, but also be able to acquire elements to better evaluate the reflection presented in this article.

(17) It is enough to observe the sequence of titles of his late books: Viva vaia [Hooray for boos] (1979); Expoemas [Expoems] (1985); Despoesia [Dispoetry] (1994); Nao [No] (2003); and also his last anthology of translations, Poesia da recusa [Poetry of refusal] (2006).

Paulo Franchetti is professor of Literary Theory at Unicamp. He has published among other books the essays Alguns aspectos da teoria da poesia concreta [Some aspects of the theory of concrete poetry] (1989); Nostalgia, exilio e melancolia--leituras de Camilo Pessanha [Nostalgia, exile and melancholy--readings of Camilo Pessanha] (2001); and Estudos de literatura brasileira e portuguesa [Studies of Brazilian and Portuguese literature] (2007); also a novel, O sangue dos dias transparentes [The Blood of Transparent Days] (2003).


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Author:Franchetti, Paulo
Publication:Portuguese Studies
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Mar 22, 2008
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