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Poetry Corner

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FEATURED POETS

BRAZIL

CARIBBEAN
GUYANA

UNITED STATES

The book ... fascinates me. I was raised in the world.
Without maternal guidance. But books guided my
thinking. Avoiding the abysses that we encounter in life.
Blessed the time I spent reading. I came to the
conclusion that it’s the poor who must read. Because the
book, it’s the compass that we have to guide man into
the future…
CAROLINA MARIA DE JESUS IN MY STRANGE JOURNAL, SÃO PAULO,
1996.

Life is like a book. Only after having read it that we
know what it contains. And when we are at the end of
life that we know how our life elapsed. Mine, so far, has
been black. Black is my skin. Black is the place where I
live.
CAROLINA MARIA DE JESUS IN TRASH ROOM, SÃO PAULO, 1960.

To be black in a world dominated by whites, to be a
woman in a space dominated by men, unable to set
herself up as a person of wealth in a territory where
managing money is more difficult than earning it, to
publish books in an intellectual environment of refined
standard, all combined to make Carolina’s experience
[as a successful writer] a whirlwind.
JOSÉ CARLOS MEIHY & ROBERT LEVINE, BLACK CINDERELLA: THE
SAGA OF CAROLINA MARIA DE JESUS
, RIO DE JANEIRO, 1994.

ABOVE THREE QUOTES FROM
ELFIKURTEN

Carolina faced, faces and will eternally face linguistic
prejudice. Regardless of any success, she will always be
the semi-literate, slum-dweller and black. Linguistic
prejudice is even more damaging because Brazil’s
supposedly literate elite doesn’t recognize itself as a
nation. They think that the people don’t know how to
speak and that who speaks the best Portuguese is the
one who comes from Portugal.
TOM FARIAS, AUTHOR OF CAROLINA: UMA BIOGRAFIA, IN HIS
INTERVIEW WITH CULT MAGAZINE, FEBRUARY 2017.

Carolina’s body of work has this strong characteristic of
variegated discourse, mixed, a poetics of residue in
which she unifies the literary with the non-literary. And
because the notebooks that she used were found in the
trash, in the same notebook you can find bits of
romance, poems, journals. Everything is very residual,
done with the emergency of the moment. Carolina has
this footprint of improvisation.
RAFFAELLA FERNANDEZ, AUTHOR OF A POÉTICA DE RESÍDUOS DE
CAROLINA MARIA DE JESUS
, IN HER INTERVIEW WITH BRAVO!
MAGAZINE, MARCH 2018.

TRANSLATION BY ROSALIENE BACCHUS.

HUMANITY
HUMANIDADE
Carolina Maria de Jesus
Translation by Rosaliene Bacchus

After knowing humanity
its perversities
its ambitions
I have grown older
and losing
the illusions

What predominates is wickedness
because goodness
nobody practices
Humanity ambitious
and greedy
who wants to get rich!

When I die…
I don’t want to be born again
It's horrible, to endure humanity
that has a noble appearance
that conceals
the worst qualities

I noticed that the human being
is perverse, is tyrannical
self-seeking egoist
But treat with courtesy
But everything is hypocrisy
They are ill-mannered and deceitful
AFRO-BRAZILIAN
WRITER & POET
(1914-1977)
CAROLINA MARIA DE
JESUS, writer and
poet, was born in
Sacramento, a rural
community in the
Southeast Brazil state
of Minas Gerais.

An illegitimate child of
sharecroppers, Carolina
was treated as an
outcast during her entire
childhood. She had only
two years of formal
schooling when she
learned to read and write.

After her mother's
death in 1937, she
migrated to the city of
São Paulo with her
three children. As a
single parent, she
struggled to eke out a
living. Later, she
moved into a shack in
one of the city's large
favelas (slums). To
get money to buy
food, she collected
and sold waste paper.

In July 1955, she
began recording her
day-to-day life in the
favela in blank pages
of used old notebooks
retrieved from
garbage bins.

In 1958, a young
reporter, Andalio
Dantas, met Carolina
de Jesus by chance.
Upon learning about
her journal, he
recognized its
uniqueness and
sociological
importance.

In 1960, after edited
excerpts published in
Dantas' newspaper
became an overnight
sensation, De Jesus'
journal was published
as a book, titled
Quarto de Despejo
(Trash Room). Ten
thousand copies were
sold within the first
three days and
another 90,000 copies
over the following six
months. Gaining
worldwide readership,
the book was
translated into 14
languages.

Using the royalties from
her book sales, Carolina
de Jesus bought a house
in a middle-class
neighborhood.

Her second volume of
her journal entries,
Casa de Alvenaria,
released in 1961, did
not sell well and she
was soon forgotten.

Unable to adjust to
living in her new
neighborhood,
Carolina de Jesus
moved to the
countryside on the
outskirts of São Paulo,
where she lived until
the end of her life.
CAROLINA MARIA
DE JESUS
PROGRAM
NAÇÃO | TVE
RIO GRANDE DO SUL
PUBLISHED
SEPTEMBER 2015

PART ONE
(25:43 MINUTES DURATION)
PART TWO
(27:00 MINUTES DURATION)

NARRATION IN PORTUGUESE

Humanidade
Carolina Maria de Jesus

Depôis de conhecer a humanidade
suas perversidades
suas ambições
Eu fui envelhecendo
E perdendo
as ilusões

O que predomina é a maldade
porque a bondade:
Ninguem pratica
Humanidade ambiciosa
E gananciosa
Que quer ficar rica!

Quando eu morrer…
Não quero renascer
é horrivel, suportar a humanidade
Que tem aparência nobre
Que encobre
As pesimas qualidades

Notei que o ente humano
É perverso, é tirano
Egoista interesseiros
Mas trata com cortêzia
Mas tudo é ipocresia
São rudes, e trapaçêiros


Carolina Maria de Jesus, Meu estranho diário, São
Paulo, 1996 (original text).
SOURCE:
Revista Prosa Verso e Arte
Carolina Maria de Jesus - Brazilian Writer and Poet


CAROLINA
MARIA
DE JESUS


LIST OF
PUBLICATIONS

Quarto de despejo
Memoir
(1960)

Casa de Alvenaria
Memoir
(1961)

Pedaços da fome
Romance
(1963)

Provérbios
Proverbs
(1965)

PUBLISHED
AFTER
HER DEATH

Diário de Bitita
Memoir
(1986)

Meu estranha
diário
(1996)

Antologia Pessoal
Poetry
(1996)