02 June 2009


I've found a site called Casa Fernando Pessoa, linked to the house itself in Lisbon where Pessoa mainly lived. It now houses a permanent exhibition of Pessoa's life, a library, and occasional muscial and literary events. The website seems to have a comprehensive collection of Pessoa's verse online, organised according to the names of the heteronyms, and there are plenty of them.

I know that Álvaro de Campos is one of the main ones. Surprisingly, he wrote a series of five sonnets entitled Barrow-on-Furness, too long to look at here. Here's a shorter poem, O Futuro (the future):

Sei que me espera qualquer coisa
Mas não sei que coisa me espera.

Como um quarto escuro
Que eu temo quando creio que nada temo
Mas só o temo, por ele, temo em vão.
O mistério da morte a mim o liga
Ao brutal fim do meu poema.

My translation:
I know that some thing waits for me
But I don't know what thing waits for me.

Like a dark room
That I fear when I believe I fear nothing
But just to fear it means I fear in vain.
The mystery of death for me is linked
To the brutal end of my poem.

I'm not sure about the translation especially the 'just to fear it' line. I suspect this isn't one of the best. But maybe here the point is that the poems of de Campos build the author.

Anyway, more of this later. The real point of this post is to note the resource.

Edit (later that day): I should point out, once again, my stupidity. The list of heteronyms is no such thing. It's a list of poets whose work is available at the Casa, some of them from many centuries past. Actually, thinking about it, it's unlikely the collection of Pessoa's poetry is comprehensive. He wrote a hell of a lot.

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