Brazilian Pop Poetry

Some strong words about the poetry of pop music in Brazil from the Consulate General of Brazil:

In a country where poetry is neither widely read nor taught, the status of Brazilian pop music is very sound, since every poet born since the 1950’s not only stemmed from its roots but also, consciously or not, felt its influence. Any poet under the age of 45 who alleges otherwise is lying.

The status of music is very sound. I have to admit I like the way that phrase…sounds.

That said, it should also be noted that, during this period, Brazilian pop music not only played a different role than pop music did in the English speaking countries or in Hispanic America, but also constituted a substantial and diverse entity of its own, whose more lasting influence would not be circumscribed by political or sentimental manifestations, but would seek through its lyrics a continuity with the tradition of poetry as such.

Poetry that is more lasting than sentimental manifestations? Poets who lie. Not sure I understand their point(s).

Anyway, the Latin American Song Alliance has a fine example of classic Brazilian poetry from Vinícius de Moraes, including links to audio of course.

Here is my own attempt at a translation of that poem, “Acalanto da rosa” (Lullaby of the rose):

Dorme a estrela no céu,
dorme a rosa em seu jardim,

Dorme a lua no mar,
dorme o amor dentro de mim

É preciso pisar leve,
ai, é preciso não falar

Meu amor se adormece
que suave é o seu perfume

Dorme em paz rosa pura
o teu sono não tem fim

Sleeping star in the sky,
sleeping rose in its garden,

Sleeping moon in the sea,
sleeping love inside of me

So necessary to make light steps,
oh, necessary not to speak

My love falls asleep,
how soft is her perfume

Sleep in peace rose so true,
your sleep will never end

There also are some nice videos online of Moraes performing his poetry. Hard to tell what he has in the glass he is dancing with, but my guess is whiskey.

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