Nasjonalgalleriet, by João Luís Barreto Guimarães, translated from the Portuguese by Calvin Olsen
Acerca da solidão não se enganaram
os velhos Mestres (quão bem entenderam a
condição humana) como está presente
enquanto outros festejam ou se abraçam ou simplesmente
conversam entre si. Como (ante
a solidão) deve sempre haver alguém
que não queria especialmente que acontecesse.
Nunca esqueceram que a mais terrível solidão
tem uma geografia (um quarto abandonado
onde conversa sozinha ou isolada de tantos
no imo da multidão).
No Grito de Munch por exemplo:
a ponte é obliqua como o medo. Os dois
amigos podem até não ter escutado o grito
mas tal não é determinante –
o céu em tumulto assistiu à angústia
da boca aberta (as
mãos cerrando os ouvidos ao grito essencial) e
sobre o fiorde azul deu-se algo de extraordinário:
o grito chegou a acender-se mas
não se desfez em som.
João Luís Barreto Guimarães
About loneliness they were never wrong
the Old Masters (how well they understood
the human condition) how it appears
while others are out partying or hugging or simply
talking among themselves. How (before
loneliness) there must always be someone
who didn’t particularly want it to transpire.
They never forgot that the most terrible solitude
has a geography (a deserted room
where it talks alone or isolated from so many
in the heart of the crowd).
In Munch’s Scream for instance:
the bridge is oblique like fear. Those two
friends may not have even heard the scream
but that doesn’t make any difference –
in turmoil the sky watched the anguish
of the open mouth (the
hands sealing the ears off from the needed scream) and
over the blue fjord something extraordinary happened:
the scream succeeded in coming to light but
did not dissolve into sound.
João Luís Barreto Guimarães, translated from the Portuguese by Calvin Olsen
With a nod to W.H. Auden's "Musee des Beaux Arts."
João Luís Barreto Guimarães was born in Porto, Portugal (June, 3rd, 1967) where he graduated in Medicine. He is a Poet (as well as a Reconstructive Surgeon). As a writer, he is the author of 11 poetry books since 1989, including his first 7 books in “Collected Poetry” (“Poesia Reunida”, Quetzal, Lisbon, 2011) and the subsequent “You Are Here” (“Você está Aqui”, 2013), published in Italy, “Mediterranean” (“Mediterrâneo”, 2016) – National Award of Poetry António Ramos Rosa 2017, published in Spain, France, Italy where it was Finalist of the International Camaiori Prize 2018, Poland, Egypt, Greece, Serbia and forthcoming in the USA, Finland and Czech Republic; “Nomad” (“Nómada”, 2018) – Best Poetry Book Bertrand 2018 and Armando Silva Carvalho Poetry Award 2020, published in Italy where it was Finalist of the International Camaiori Prize 2019, Spain and Czech Republic, forthcoming in Serbia and Egypt; the anthology “Time Advances by Syllables” (“O Tempo Avança por Sílabas”, 2019), published in Croatia, Macedonia and Brazil, forthcoming in India; “Movement” (“Movimento”, 2020), Grand Prix of Literature dst 2022, also published in Macedonia, forthcoming in South Korea. The English translation of “Mediterranean”, by Calvin Olsen, won the Willow Run Poetry Award 2020. His work is published in numerous international anthologies. He has read at literary festivals in Malaga and Pontevedra in Spain, Aguascalientes in México, and Zagreb/Split in Croatia, Bremen in Germany and Washington and New York in USA. English translations have appeared widely.
Calvin Olsen is an American poet and translator based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University, where he studied under Robert Pinsky, David Ferry, and Nobel laureate Louise Glück, and an MA in English & Comparative Literature from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and he is currently a doctoral candidate in Communication, Rhetoric, & Digital Media at NC State University. Calvin’s poetry and translations have appeared in The Adroit Journal, AGNI, Asymptote, The London Magazine, The National Poetry Review, and World Literature Today, among many others, and he is the recipient of a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship and a 2021. Travel Fellowship from The American Literary Translators Association. More of his work can be found at calvin-olsen.com.
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