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Blood of the Sun: Poemsby Salgado Maranhao
Synopses & Reviews
Pairing one of the most celebrated poets in Brazil today with the premier American translator of Portuguese-language literature, Blood of the Sun offers a richly multicultural and highly musical experience.
Praise for Blood of the Sun
Brazils northeast is a dry and ancient land. Little visited, it has come to be known outside the country for producing some of its best writing. In Blood of the Sun, Alexis Levitin has given us a perfect English rendering of Salgado Maranhãos deft expression of the tonality of this people and land.”
Alexis Levitins translation of the Afro-Brazilian poet Salgado Maranhãos Blood of the Sun succeeds in negotiating the quirky experimental richness of Maranhãos Pre-Columbian, Amazonian, and Yoruba influences with his traditional rhymed lyrics and jazzlike syncopations. We journey to Brazils agricultural northeast and out of the expected ballyhoo of Carnival into the desolate shelter?/?of the flat?/?lands and beneath the gaze of exhausted time. We see the ritual jewels of Lilian Reyes O.?/?reign in the entrails?/?of vibrant trance. Levitin skillfully alerts us to the presence of a complex and offbeat poet whose work merits a wide audience.”
In poems brilliantly textured and layered, Salgado Maranhão integrates socio-political thought with subjects abstractly metaphysical. Concrete collides with conceptual—butcher shops, sex, and machine guns in conversation with language, absence, and time—resulting in a collection varied as well as unified, an aesthetic at once traditional and postmodern. Writing in forms both fixed and free, Maranhãos language suggests a jazz-like musicality that rings true in Alexis Levitins masterful translations. For readers who enjoy the complexity of Charles Simic, or the stylistically innovative syntax of César Vallejo, Maranhãos Blood of the Sun is a sensually provocative amalgamation of both.
Even the bitter taste of grapes
does not appease us. Nor does rain
upon our burning eyes
return to us what we have lived.
The magma that consumes us
banishes our sketch of hours
beneath a bolt of lightning in suspense.
Not even what is ours belongs to us.
Salgado Maranhão is the author of nine collections of poems. His recent volume of new and selected poems, entitled A Cor da Palavra (The Color of the Word), was named the best book of poetry by the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 2011. Sol Sangüíneo (Blood of the Sun) is Maranhãos first book to appear in English translation.
Alexis Levitin has translated thirty-one books of poetry, including Clarice Lispectors Soulstorm and Eugénio de Andrades Forbidden Words. He is a Distinguished Professor at SUNY-Plattsburgh.
About the Author
Salgado Maranhão won Brazils prestigious Prêmio Jabuti in 1999 for his book Mural of the Winds. In addition to nine books of poetry, including The Snakes Fists, The Kiss of the Beast, Tigers Fur, and the very recent (2010) Collected Poetry, he has written song lyrics and made recordings with some of Brazils leading jazz and pop musicians. Alexis Levitins translations of Maranhãos poems have previously appeared in BOMB, Brasil/Brazil, Dirty Goat, Fourth River, Measure, Osiris, Per Contra, Pleiades, Sirena, Spoon River Poetry Review, Subtropics, Turnrow, Words Without Borders, and Xavier Review.
Alexis Levitin has published more than twenty-five books of translation, including eleven collections of poems by Portuguese poet Eugénio de Andrade. His translations have appeared in more than numerous anthologies and hundreds of literary journals including Grand Street, Partisan Review, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, and Prairie Schooner. He has received four grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Fulbright Awards, and a number of other prestigious awards and residencies. Levitin teaches in the English program at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh.
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