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Considered the greatest long poem in 20th century Brazilian poetry, Ferreira's Gullar's Dirty Poem was written as a response to the Brazilian dictatorship that put him in exile and murdered thousands.
Written in 1975 in Buenos Aires when Ferreira Gullar was in political exile from the Brazilian dictatorship, Dirty Poem is an epic poem that amid life events traces the author’s political and artistic evolution and is by most accounts the most important long poem of contemporary Brazilian literature. Scholar and critic Otto Maria Carpeaux wrote: “Dirty Poem deserves to be called ‘National Poem’ because it embodies all of the experiences, victories, defeats, and hopes in the life of the Brazilian citizen.” It is a hypnotic work that draws on the poet’s memory of adolescence in the seaside city of Sao Luís do Maranhao during World War II and deals openly with the “dirty” shamefulness of a socio-economic system that abuses its citizens with poverty, sexism, greed, and fear.
About the Author
Poet, artist, art critic, essayist, dramatist, journalist, and scriptwriter, Ferreira Gullar (b. 1930), is the central figure of the Neo-Concretes and best known for his work Poema Sujo (Dirty Poem). He currently lives and writes in Rio de Janeiro.
Leland Guyer is the translator of many Brazilian writers of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota.
One of the region’s most important poets.
— Art Forum
I am a fervent admirer of Ferreira Gullar’s scandalously beautiful Dirty Poem. It makes me feel like a child before a tropical forest or a soaring monument.
— Clarice Lispector
In fine translation from the Portuguese, Leland Guyer captures the richness of language of Gullar's poetry--from local idioms to the language of displacement.
— Bruna Dantas Lobato - Asymptote Journal