English, Português

Translation: concrete poetry, literally

Marina Borges / 23 de novembro de 2013
poesiabsb
“Strong feet, wide steps/ Streets with no corners/A heart that pumps up.”

Poetry in concrete works addresses everyday issues and causes reflections

Messages and verses written on poles, bus stops, curbs and underpasses attract the attention of Brasília natives

Those who walk around Brasília find poetry printed in unimaginable places. Verses have left the books behind and are now in bus stops, underpasses, poles, curbs, sidewalks, wastebins and enclosures of construction sites. A closer look is enough to find them. However, unsigned messages often don’t find an addressee. They go unnoticed in the bustle of the city.

Farmer Rita Lopes, 48, left the small town of Pedra Branca do Amapari, in the northern state of Amapá, and landed in Brasilia last week. Passing by the Monumental Axis (Eixo Monumental), one of the central avenues of the capital, she noticed a message. “I read the placard saying ‘More Love Please’ and I thought: “that’s it, that’s what’s missing”! People here are always in a rush, don’t look beside them, don’t see each other. I think that looking at the person next to you is worrying about them, is giving love away”, she says.

A countryman of Rita, civil servant André Lopes, 27, was also enchanted. “Life is so rushed. We forget to say how we feel. We forget to say ‘I love you’. So messages like these, in the middle of the city, are very cool. We look at them and wonder. Poetry reaches us through the rush and makes us think,” he says. Broadcaster Luiz Polesi, 53, also noticed the sign. “I found it very nice. Poetry is always good. I don’t give it an A, I give it an A+,” he said. Polesi, who lives in the city of Taquaritinga, believes that poems are a different intervention and attract people’s attention. “It’s beautiful. It makes the city more beautiful. It’s not like gibberish that nobody understands,” he says, referring to graffiti.

Poetry in walls is something common in the major cities across the world. The verses are short and precise. Simple life issues are addressed without depth, but also without losing the dose of reflection which is inherent to poetry in general. For many artists, interventions are a reaction to the advertisements bombarding those passing by large urban centers. In Brasilia, the verses gain particularities. They speak of loneliness, concrete, of the streets without corners. Most poems are not signed. Groups of urban art make verses available for download, such as the Brasilia native group Coletivo Transverso. It’s a piece of art that can be made by everyone and has everyone as their public.

English translation of the Portuguese original article available here.
Tradução em inglês do original em português disponível aqui.
Traducción al inglés del original en portugués disponible aquí.

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