On Falling from Grace – author and reader

This post includes my clarifications (in the guise of a response) to a few points/interpretations raised by Emanuel Melo regarding a few essays in Beyond Bullfights and Ice Hockey.  I deemed the response  necessary and relevant in light of his interpretations of my Canada Reads essay, and in particular, amid the present high-profile event of the Jian Ghomeshi trial. The original intent of the essays under discussion, and his interpretation on some details, were so unexpected and so far from my original intent that I needed to present my interpretation. This response was originally sent to Emanuel by email. He found the points valuable and suggested I included the response in a sequential exchange in order to expand the reader’s understanding of the essays. As you’ll see, the response is in portuguese. In time I expect to post the full english translation for a wider readership.

(…)

No que diz respeito ao teu texto sobre o meu livro de ensaios, agradeço a minuta atenção que dedicaste ao livro. Admiro a intimidade das tuas palavras como leitor apaixonado, assim como a franqueza emocional ao revelar esse leque de reações ao livro. Fiquei particularmente sensibilizado pela tua honestidade ao revelares esse desalento, deceção, my falling from your grace, ao ler os ensaios em que a discordância com o texto criou separação e um desligar afetivo entre o leitor e o escritor. Esses são momentos e palavras de tanta importância como os momentos em que nos encontrávamos em sintonia. Como aludi nos ensaios “Story” e “Mass Storytelling”, eu não desejo ser idolatrizado, concordado em pleno. Na verdade abraço as divergências pois permite expandir a janela da existência, da perceção, e esse reflexo e reflexão oferece mais complexidade sobre as questões debruçadas, e mesmo muito mais complexidade, quer na relação entre o leitor e escritor, entre amigos, entre família, entre amantes. Essa textura da diferença ainda que minuciosa, sendo respeitada, pesquisada, elaborada e conversada, oferece mais do que um percurso linear na busca de contínua elucidação. Um trajeto direto, plano e sem sobressaltos ou surpresas, um trajeto em que já se antecipava a consonância total, pode adormecer a mente. Penso que esse momento de dissonância que gera o sobressalto é uma das chaves de sucesso para qualquer relação humana. O momento de realização da diferença e o apreciar dessas diferenças, especialmente quando são periféricas e complementares. É nesse momento que as relações humanas em todos os seus âmbitos e modalidades muitas vezes falham, quando essa utopia da comunhão total se desmorona e a nova realidade não consegue ser integrada. Quando são divergências fundamentais aí o desafio é enormíssimo, claro.

Outro ponto que gostaria de salientar no teu comentário é a tua leitura que só menciona um aspeto do texto sobre o Canada Reads, que foi escrito pré-Ghomeshi escândalo. No ensaio já questionava o Jian (o qual continuo a considerar como um entrevistador de muita sensibilidade e dos melhor preparados e corajosos que já vira a abordar questões delicadas com tato, pelo menos nas entrevistas que o ouvi no programa Q da CBC), isto vis a vis o paradoxo que questiono nesse texto … de como poderia ele com essa sensibilidade demonstrada como entrevistador, por outro lado ser cúmplice de um programa com raízes tão agressivas e competitivas. Dirigia ele a locomotiva do Canada Reads ou era somente passageiro de olhos fechados e em cumplicidade inconsciente e silenciosa, colhendo os louros da fama e dos cifrões? O futuro demonstrou que essa agressividade ou violência não lhe eram estranhas e ele como muitas das pessoas vivem com paradoxos em que facetas públicas e pessoais se compartimentalizam ou emergem em áreas estanques. Podemos ser sensíveis e sensatos numas áreas e toscos e brutos noutras … ou atores, dependendo da existência de uma audiência ou não. Daí que na minha opinião esse texto já questionava algo incoerente sobre o homem e apontava para essa violência latente e que ninguém publicamente se atrevia a mencionar. Pelo menos ninguém do meu conhecimento ou das minha leituras.

Um último ponto é uma clarificação sobre o ensaio da profissionalização ou critérios de qualidade da escrita nesta nossa era em que todos molham o seu pé nela. Não era meu objetivo melindrar todos os que escrevem, mas sim defender graus de exigência e qualidade na escrita para dignificar a profissão ao encontro do que existe noutras atividades ou profissões. Todavia nas artes de expressão criativa clássicas, desde a pintura à escrita, da música à escultura, etc.. parece ter-se banalizado e amalgamado tudo e todos, o que não dignifica a profissão nem o trabalho, e muito menos a arte. Daí que se veja um aumento vertiginoso de lixo, de menos arte, nas palavras que nos rodeiam, e em contextos ou locais literários em que se esperava mais asseio, polição e critério. O lixo sempre existiu em todas as facetas da nossa existência, a sua proliferação é que parece agora incontrolável. Da mesma forma que se vê a inundação de produtos de fabricação e de fraca qualidade vindos da China, consequentemente de pouca duração, e que criaram uma desconfiança perpétua a tudo o que é produzido na China. Feito na China passou a ser sinónimo de fraca qualidade. Não desejo que tal aconteça às palavras, ao mundo da escrita, simplesmente porque nos abstemos de lutar por critérios de qualidade e distinção nos templos mais elevados da sua prática. Como mencionaste, esse ensaio é certamente um texto mais cerebral, cortante, analítico e académico.

De qualquer forma, e aparte esses esclarecimentos de menor grau que agora escrevi, queria agradecer-te profundamente teres partilhado essas impressões comigo. Sou um escritor sortudo ao beneficiar dessa tua generosidade e coragem incomensuráveis. Como mencionei num dos ensaios do livro, nos dias de hoje é quase inexistente a recensão que apresenta um debruçar tão profundo sobre um livro. Mas tu foste bem mais além. Não é só a extensão do texto, mas a sua qualidade emocional e íntima que se vê revelada perante a leitura do livro. Em geral o crítico literário está muito preocupado em soar inteligente, competente, culto e erudito e não revela o seu coração e alma de forma tão despida. No entanto essa tua intimidade, de compromisso para com o texto lido e pelo texto gerado pela leitura, é fresca devido à tua honestidade. Feito raro. No dia que encontrarmos mais comentários críticos em que se aliará a acutilância da mente com as verdades íntimas do coração ao percorrer um texto teremos uma arte da crítica literária vibrante. É essa aliança que tem faltado ao mundo das recensão.

Emanuel, provavelmente terás iniciado uma nova era e padrão de interação crítica com os livros num fórum público. Espero que seja seguida. Gostaria imenso de partilhar esse texto com outros leitores (…)

Abraço grande,
paulo
Janeiro de 2016

 

translation in progress

(…) I would like to address your comment on the Canada Reads essay highlighting a minor point in the text (which was written pre-Ghomeshi scandal), but which might distort the understanding of that essay for those who have not read the book. In the essay I already questioned Jian’s role (which I still regard as an interviewer of great sensitivity, subject prepared and courageous. One of the best I had seen addressing sensitive matters with tact, at least in the interviews I heard on the CBC Q program), this vis à vis the paradox that I questioned in that text … how could he show such sensitivity toward an interviewee and on the other hand be complicit in a program with roots as aggressive and competitive as Canada Reads. Did he drive the locomotive of Canada Reads or was he a mere passenger with closed eyes, unconscious and silently complicit, reaping the rewards of fame and dollars? The future showed us that aggression or violence were not strange to him. He, like many, lives with paradoxes where public and personal facets are compartmentalized or only emerge in sealed off areas. We can be sensitive and sensible in some areas and rough and brute in others… or even actors, depending on the existence of an audience or not. Therefore, in my view, this essay already questioned something incoherent about the man and pointed to this latent violence who no one publicly had dared to mention. At least not to my knowledge or in my readings.

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A Reader’s Response to Beyond Bullfights and Ice Hockey

Beyond Bullfights and Ice Hockey: A Reader’s Response

By Emanuel Melo

 

I overheard a conversation between a father, his wife and daughter while at lunch at Le Petit Château in Quebec City the other day.
“What are you planning to do this afternoon?” he asked.
“We’re going to the Museum of Civilization.”
“Great. That’ll give me time to watch the game and then we’ll meet up after.”
I could say that I found it shocking that someone would take the time to come all the way to Quebec City to stay cooped up in a hotel room to watch a game while ignoring the charm of the city, but I won’t. This retelling of the dialogue I heard from a family on holiday is an observation, not a judgement. For some, the world of sports and easy entertainment is all they want or need; for others, it takes a little bit more to satisfy the soul. I am one of the latter and have no further comments to make on the former. Let those who wish to sit on their couches during long Sunday afternoons cheering their favourite team do so, undisturbed. I have no quarrel with them.

However, bullfighting, well, this is more problematic for me because I am willing to be judgmental on the issue of cruelty to animals. Years ago I watched a Tourada à Corda on the island of Terceira, and although this is a gentler form of bullfighting, in fact, it’s not a fight at all, just a teasing of the bull, I found myself unable to stay and watch the humiliation of the majestic black beauty running in confusion to the sound of the shrieking delighted mob spectators. I am someone who won’t even visit a Zoo. I’d rather live without ever seeing tigers and bears, oh my, up close; I’d rather watch nature documentaries on television where I can enjoy watching creatures in their own habitat instead of in the caged prisons people willingly pay money to show their kids the cute little darlings (not the kids but the animals).
And I would rather walk in a forest, afraid to crush a blade of grass, in awe of the privilege of just being there, entering its life without disturbing it or destroying it.
Now you know, I hope, where I stand on Life, and it is in the context of who I am, that I read and connect with your essays.

On Identity and Language
I suppose I have the advantage, Dear Writer, because I know your name and you don’t know mine. If you did, you would not have referred to me as Dear Reader, but would have instead used my name. Emanuel Duarte Cabral de Melo. Well, you would not have used all those names in-between the first and the last. We are not in Portugal, after all. You would just know me as Emanuel Melo. I diminished my full name, naively, in my eagerness to comply with Canadian standards when I filled out my application for Canadian Citizenship at the age of 20. In my zeal to please, I even dropped the “de” and by doing so stopped belonging to the Melo family; I made myself an outsider with the simple striking out of a preposition that signifies belonging to someone or something.

“Oh Canada! My home and not native land…” That’s clever of you. Insightful. Yes, Canada became my home but I have always subconsciously found it disturbing and disingenuous to think of it as my native land. There should be a National Anthem version for immigrants turned citizens. Just insert “not” in exchange for my deletion of “de” in my name and we might just call it even.

I was born in the Azores and came to Canada when I was nine, on a cold February night. I experienced the shock of arriving at a place that was white and gelid (I could have just written the word “cold” but the Portuguese word gélido lingers in my mind, even after all these years, and inserts itself into this sentence unceremoniously). I remember that I wore a linen suit, adequate for leaving the island on that morning’s rainy damp day, but no longer effective protection by nightfall when I landed on the place I eventually came to accept as home.
Within a few short years of living in Toronto, the language of my birth, mostly stagnant since the age of nine, faded behind a heavy hazy cloud. Entre as Brumas da Memória…..
Contrary to the popular belief, absence makes the heart forget, and without awareness, English seduced my young Portuguese soul with its swanky cool sounds, a foreign language that became more intimate to me than the heavy somber words I brought to “this country,” as I referred to Canada at first, until I gravitated towards the Anglo world and found a home there. As a teenager, I abandoned my cultural past for many reasons, none of which I will go into here, unless you want to hear about them another time. Suffice it to say that I felt welcomed in my adopted home and soon forgot the heritage of my childhood. Not that I completely forgot, I just let it be on the periphery of my existence, a mere nostalgic reference to a long ago past.
Years later, when I went searching for vestiges of any withered roots left inside of me, I discovered Palavras onde me Perco by Avelina da Silveira. As I read her tri-language poem describing the fate of those who leave their roots and establish themselves elsewhere, one crucial line stabbed my hardened heart and tore open a memory so painful to me that I had not even realized I carried this ache until I read the poet’s lament: “Já não sonho em português.” As I felt a jolt shake my body, I remembered exactly when “I no longer dream in Portuguese” ended my Portuguese world of childhood in exchange for the beauty of English.
Yet, I have never been able to feel completely at home in either language. I find myself moving interiorly from one linguistic room to another. My inner house is not an open concept where dining room and living room and kitchen and perhaps even bedroom are all part of one big living space. I live compartmentally even as I search for, but yet have to find, a third inner room where my Portuguese-English selves can co-exist fluidly and naturally. Recently, I have begun to build a room in my mind’s house where I hope the two can be together as one. Until then, I continue to move from one room to the other, always leaving a part of me outside the door before I enter each separate space.

Words are the conduit that give meaning to my understanding of self. When I want to experience myself, or remember myself, as the Azorean child of long ago, I suspend thinking in English, and in my mind, I return to um outro lugar geográfico and I think in Portuguese words, the portal to my world das procissões, dos tapetes de flores e do farelo que cobriam as ruas para a passagem dos andores da virgem e dos santos, das loiças de barro vendida nas barracas durante as festas, da pureza e frescura da àgua da Noite de São João, dos foguetes, do Hino do Senhor Santo Cristo, do som e cheiro do mar. There are many other recordações that I still carry inside myself; memories that eu trouxe comigo, and that, despite all the love and good life I have experienced in Canada, continue to pull be back to a clichéd saudade.

If I think or write about these same memories in English, the essence of what I feel vanishes in the translation, just like the words I just wrote in Portuguese will have no meaning whatsoever to an English reader. The memories I reflect on, like all memories, are deeply personal, and because they happened to me when I lived exclusively in a Portuguese world, I have to go back to that language to give them true life. In English, they are no longer my true memories but rather something different. I am reminded of how Jesus tried to convey meaning through parables. He would say, “The kingdom of God is like… a mustard seed, a vineyard, a found pearl.” And I say, “Saudade is like…” but I have to settle for metaphors and images that can only offer the “likeness” of the untranslatable.

Sometimes, I wish I could dive into Portuguese letters and swim in Portuguese words, luxuriate in Portuguese sounds. Alas, I live and breathe in a foreign/no longer foreign language that is as intimate to me as the core of my being, yet I can still be easily seduced back to Portuguese and then fico perdido nas palavras da minha infância, mergulho no mar infinito das palavras, nado nas ondas de saudade que perseguem e torturam a minha alma, faminta pelo passado longuínquo. Mas quase que já não me lembro das palavras, tão longe que estão de mim, neste mundo English que seduced and raptured my portuguese soul.

This is enough rambling for someone who never quite adjusted fully to change of place, language, and culture. And yet in many ways I also feel myself a citizen, not just of Canada, but of the world; so my struggle with belonging and identity is perhaps disingenuous. My home and native land…..not.

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Four am and I’m up, stirred from sleep by the anticipation of getting back to you in the next room. I sneak quietly out of bed, leaving the warmth of my partner’s body under sheets to be with you, this time in Review the Reviewer. The lamp light is spot-on in the otherwise darkness and as I read, I am conscious of the fact that I have gone from just “hanging out with paulo” to falling in love with you. Maybe it’s the feeling of vulnerability upon waking in the dark quiet stillness of the ending night that makes me feel so tender and raw but the words you whisper into my ears almost sends shivers up my spine and I am having a Tantra experience.
You planted that word in my mind and now I can’t ignore it as you touch me, subtly, but like touching a live electric wire, I feel a jolt of energy run through my body when your words enter my consciousness. “Sensual strokes…the touch of beauty, the attention to language or the existence of phenomenological insight, intercourse with literature, literary tantra.” Keep talking.
By the time I read that “The universe of silence is an endangered experience across every continent on this planet.” and that, “It is rare to find a person who reads the silence with the fluency of stone angels,” I feel myself surrender into emotional literary orgasm and I wonder if my partner in the next room will suspect that I am now with someone else. Is it cheating? Is it unfaithfulness if it’s just words?

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(paulo says the things I want to hear. He knows what I like, and even though he casually calls me Dear Reader, we both know that I have a proper name. I wish he had the guts to use it. “In my books language occupies space… The language is not shy. It dresses up to accentuate the contours of that body. It enjoys the attention…” My God, make him stop. Yet, I can’t put the book down, I need, I want more. He has a way with words that makes my head spin and my heart flutter. And his self-assertion in defence of his beautiful collection of short stories, The Green and Purple Skin of the World, is sexy. No self-effacement modest humility here. He know who he is, he defends his under-the-radar writing style, and he shouts it up more dramatically than the ludicrous mob yell in a hockey arena when some overdressed bull-in-a-china-shop player manages to score. He is like Yasujir? Ozu, the slow master of cinema. You can fall asleep, wishing you could fast-forward to the end of the two excruciating hours of nothing really happening, but you are watching him at Harbourfront during a Japanese Film Festival, and so you have to breathe and count the minutes until it’s over because it’s impolite to leave, unless. Unless you surrender to the quiet undertow of his images and then you experience the charge and the beauty of life below the surface and two hours will be like two minutes. Cinematic experiences can also be contemplative and moody and full of beauty but they, like paulo da costa, are not for everyone. No Oscar nomination, no Giller Prize.)

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I wonder if you were able to read my mind just now. I hope not, because my thoughts are too embarrassing to share with you, my dear Writer. For a moment I forgot myself and gave in to dreaming. Must be the morning hour and I probably should get back to my cozy bed. I’d like to, but your words keep pulling me back to stay with you. Your voice trances me. How could you have known that I am such a sucker for words; that I can melt at a beautifully phrased thought written on paper.

The Casual Reader
Now I feel embarrassed. I have read the part where I sense you are putting me in my place, disguised in your almost academic dissertation on the role of the Reader verses the Critic. The casual reader. Is this what I am to you? I feel a slight pang of hurt when I realize you have turned harsh and analytical. “By and large, the casual reader is distanced from the core and the mechanical aspects of the art… the casual reader approaches the work without gloves, tweezers and magnifying glass…in general, this reader opts for an emotional encounter with the word, foregoing cerebral, dissecting and analytical approaches.” I guess you did hear my professing of drunken love for the word, your words, and now you want some distance, you want to sober me up. You chastise me even more when you say “The casual reader tends to feel captivated by a work within their preferred aesthetic language and accessible to their personal framework of values, reflecting their experiences and interests.”

I understand what you say but you can’t persuade me to ignore my deeply personal connection with your point of view and ideas on topics dear to my heart. Yes, as a “reader” I know my place. Obrigado. But as a reader I am also drawn to what I like based on exactly all those attributes you mention. Does it mean that I can be a critic of what I read? Alas, I lack the skill and the interest, so I must concede that you and I are indeed not in the same league. You write literature, and you write it well. You have honed your craft admirably to the point that you have the confidence to out those who are just trying to get their words out on blogs and writing contests and win local literary prizes, anywhere where they can gain that 15 minutes of fame you would deny them because they don’t practice the craft with full seriousness and the skill of the writer as sacred prophet and priest, which, of course, you are. At least in your own mind you are.
You should not have made such a fine-line distinction between who you are and who you take me to be. Truthful as it is, it’s still hard to be put into one’s place.

So, I wasn’t going to bring this up, but since you want honesty in your communication with others, not that I want to be petty or to take you down from your writing pedigree, but if I were you, I would not be talking about Jian Gomeshi the way you do. “I regard (him) as a thoughtful human being who reveals the candour of his spirit and the sensibility of his heart….”
This is not Victoria, 2011 anymore, my dear Writer, and you did have the opportunity to edit that reference from your essay, in light of more recent events. Have you heard…? Or are you too lofty and pure in your understanding of what a real writer is to care that most people will be horrified to read your praise of the man in light of certain allegations against him.
I should have stopped reading you before I ventured into The Word in Sword. Such a sibilant phrase foreshadowing the end of my honeymoon period with you. And I thought we were soul mates. In the beginning, you enticed me with your talk about identity and language and I felt we were sharing something beautiful but then you showed your true self and I don’t know if I want to go all the way with you now. But there’s just one long essay left, The Story. Alright, I’ll be civilized about this, even analytical and somewhat critical, so I will hear you out before we part our separate ways.

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Backtracking. You mentioned the sacredness of silence: “Silence should only be interrupted with great humility and only when we have something relevant to contribute to the conversation.” Oh, boy. I wish I had remembered these words before spewing my word diarrhea all over the page because of one touchy point you raised about my place as a reader. It’s still not too late to erase my embarrassing rants (but then you would not see me in all my vulnerability, so I’ll let the words stay and take my chances with you). I do love silence and I connect with what you wrote in a personal way:
“The silence surrounding words highlights their importance, assures us that the word was weighed, polished, contemplated, and deserves the light of day. Words without such reins are excessively dumped in the sea of everyday life, such as one purges interior contaminants—dumped far away from us into an atmosphere that we unconsciously pollute and which we all share. Such words exorcise our private dementias but ironically saturate the art until it risks drowning in a bog of mushy cacophony.”
There is nothing I can add that would be as eloquent and profound and true as these words.

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“The relevant writers touch the wounds.”

I once wrote a short story that, unbeknownst to me, revealed a painful truth and even though it was written in a gentle manner that was not condemning or finger pointing, it stirred the anger of some who saw themselves in the story and in their outrage and anger, crucified me and banished me from their lives forever, taking down innocent lives as collateral damage. I paid the ultimate price for writing and revealing my truth.

If this can happen at the personal level, how much more insidious is it when a writer’s words offends not only a few individuals but entire nations. Yes, indeed, “my courageous writers” are all those who speak truth, whether it disturbs and offends those in political power and large corporations or even just individuals who, frightened by the revelation and possible exposure of their dark secrets and desire to control the lives of others, will use the same tactics to silence the truth tellers. Such has always been the power of the word that those who don’t understand it, don’t want to see it, fear it, are willing to kill, destroy, and crucify the spirit (and usually the body, too, of storytellers) in order to keep complacency, lies, deceptions, errors, ignorance, under cover.
It is true that often hate seems to conquer and crush love, but I will always be on the side of love, raw and honest, like Cordelia’s love in King Lear. And look at the price she paid because the foolish king was blind to truth and in love with his vanity. We are banished when we reveal truth to those who are incapable of accepting it, incapable of a change of heart, of redemption, of change, but it doesn’t mean that we must silence ourselves because of their ignorance and perhaps genuine inability to feel empathy. There is always hope, even in the face of the impossible. Words, like the proverbial seeds, can grow, but the pace of that growth, the direction of where it goes, is not ours to control. We may never see the fruit ourselves but knowing that we have planted the seeds should bring comfort in itself.

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Writers who write thoughtfully, be it through fiction or fact, offer the world substance and nutritious mind food in a much depleted diet-on-offer by mass produced ideas and mindless slogans.
There is too much confusion today with competing technologies bringing us ever more ways of accessing and gathering information. There is plenty of information everywhere, but almost no knowledge. But we have convinced ourselves that the more information we acquire, the wiser and more knowledgeable we become. We urgently fill our minds and our time with endless internet searches, countless blogs and websites enticing us with their offer of what we are supposed to want, of what we believe we desperately need to consume. There are thousands of writers hawking their wares in the sinister cyberspace market fairs where we can shop without leaving the comfort of our living room sofa, our fingers gathering the information with convenient taps and key strokes of the pick me, pick me, competing websites, clever designs promising more enlightenment than the previous one.

How do we discover those who are showing simple truth (and they do exist) when flashy entertainment sound bites of information are so much more convenient and accessible? Who has time to read your essays, paulo? Your triptych of Identity, Language, and Writing Culture, gives the reader much to think about, to experience and savour, but you are relying on readers who are willing to put down their IPhones, their internet suite of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, You Tube, Snapchat, Flipboard, Wattpad, (and more), and instead pick up your book and spend time reading it. I know that there will be many, who, like me, will make time for you, and these are the “courageous readers” of our time, those I want to meet, have time for, and call kindred spirits.

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I wish that we had been friends since childhood, even though we are of different ages. But in this great cosmic space we inhabit, the past and the present and the future interlaced into one seamless-world-come-alive through the magic of language, the words that bind us, we could be friends in a secluded place, let’s say the Queen Charlotte Islands. I’ve never been there, but in my ideal dream, I would want to be stranded there with you, two little boys gathering stones and shells on the shore and throwing words around like a soccer ball, scoring every time.
Oh, but don’t get the wrong idea, paulo, it would not be just a world for two. As much as I admire your fine mind and could live off your words, eventually I would get bored, for even beauty tires us out, and then, for relief, I would conjure up all the other misfits and outsiders of this great Luso Canadian/American diaspora who, like you, are writing and searching for
communion with other kindred souls; and I would transport them all to our great big dream world in this Haida Gawii paradise. We would gather around a great camp fire and eat sardinhas assadas and azeitonas and laugh and smile radiantly, our voices sending word-stars up into the silent dark sky, words from the old country as well as the new, taking us home, my Writer.

Emanuel
Toronto, December 24, 2015

 

please read the author’s clarification / response in this post – On Falling from Grace – author and reader

 

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DiVersos nº23 – «Poesia e Natureza» com paulo da costa, Reiner Kunze e Ricardo Lima

DiVersos nº23 – Detaque para o novo Dossier «Poesia e Natureza» com paulo da costa, Reiner Kunze e Ricardo Lima

Caso ainda não conheça a revista de poesia DiVersos aproveite esta oportunidade para a se encantar com este projecto que vai comemorar este ano o seu vigésimo aniversário de publicação e tradução. Um feito notável de compromisso e longevidade pela mão do sempre afável José Carlos Marques e da sua equipa.

SUMÁRIO

DIVERSOS – POESIA E TRADUÇÃO 23

Uma inovação na estrutura da DiVersos, a «etiqueta» POESIA E NATUREZA.

Neste número, os poemas de paulo da costa, Reiner Kunze e Ricardo Lima surgem com a etiqueta «Poesia e Natureza».

Tal não quer dizer que a temática destes poetas seja exclusivamente a natureza. Mas apenas que a sua poesia, pelo menos nos poemas aqui inseridos, tem a natureza como presença forte. E, claro, haverá poemas que, sem essa etiqueta, a poderiam ter. É já o caso neste número do poema «A ornitoptera», de Guido Gozzano.

paulo da costa enviou-nos há alguns anos vários poemas seus com essa temática, que interessa bastante ao editor. Daí surgiu a ideia de um número especial antológico da DiVersos centrado no tema, a elaborar em conjunto com paulo da costa. Por razões circunstanciais, a concretização revelou-se impraticável, assumindo a partir de agora a forma de publicação ocasional, quando oportuno, de poetas que dão destaque ao tema, ou nos quais, ainda que em filigrana, a natureza tem presença forte. É o que acontece neste número com os três poetas já mencionados.

A natureza foi desde sempre um dos temas predominantes da poesia universal e com especial força em algumas épocas. Modernamente, sobretudo a partir da segunda metade do século XX, essa presença tem vindo a apagar-se, com o ser humano e os horizontes humanos a ocupar quase exclusivamente a boca da cena. Nas exceções, nota-se que, tanto ou mais que a admiração, a contemplação ou exaltação de épocas anteriores, se observa a par delas a consciência e o lamento da sua destruição pela civilização (ou barbárie) atual em grau historicamente nunca igualado. Contemplação, exaltação e requiem estão presentes nos três poetas com que se inicia esta etiqueta.

Alfredo Ferreiro abre este número, na sequência do nosso renovado interesse pela poesia da Galiza (ver n.º 21). O seu nome consta da lista de poetas traduzidos que inserimos em cada número. É apenas uma maneira de referir a inclusão de poesia em galego. Versão, mais que tradução. Segundo a opção deste autor, a sua é escrita de acordo com a norma linguística de âmbito lusófono.

Dentre os poetas traduzidos destacamos a poetisa búlgara Zlatka Timenova, que escreve também em francês, de ambas as línguas traduzindo-se a ela própria para português. A autora trabalha e vive em Lisboa. É apenas a terceira língua eslava que a DiVersos inclui em tradução e a primeira em búlgaro, seguindo-se ao polaco (uma única vez) e ao russo (várias vezes). Desta última língua, um dos dois tradutores anteriormente incluídos é italiano, traduz para português e mora em Moscovo.

A DiVersos é talvez a publicação de língua portuguesa que mais poetas gregos traduz. Neste número inserem-se poemas de Michalis Ganás, mais uma vez em tradução de Rosa Salvado Mesquita. Ganás tinha já sido incluído há alguns anos na DiVersos em tradução de Manuel Resende.

Acrescem ainda neste número traduções do neerlandês (Remco Camport) e alemão (Francisca Stoecklin e Reiner Kunze).

Em língua portuguesa temos presentes neste número poetas portugueses como Isabel Cristina, Jorge Reis-Sá, Paulo Borges, Paulo Malekith e Ricardo Lima, pela primeira vez. Quanto a Deodato Santos, a Luís Quintais, e ao poeta luso-canadiano paulo da costa, colaboraram já antes pelo menos uma vez nesta série.

E temos também, na nossa língua comum, poetas brasileiros. Dois poetas que começaram a publicar no terceiro quartel do século XX, Anderson Braga Horta e Aricy Curvello. Deste último, «O Acampamento» pode considerar-se um curto poema épico da fronteira florestal do Brasil. De um poeta mais jovem, que já antes figurou na DiVersos, Wladimir Saldanha, inclui-se entre outros o poema «O Terceiro Mar», para nós notável também pela tessitura entrelaçada de temas da cultura e da história brasileira e portuguesa. Continuamos ainda a publicar jovens poetisas e poetas brasileiros graças aos bons ofícios de Elisa Andrade Buzzo, desta vez Greta Benítez e Izabela Orlandi.

Edições Sempre-em-Pé

DiVersos

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Poetic & Lyrical – impressions by Irene Marques

Irene Marques on Beyond Bullfights & Ice Hockey (essays)

Paulo da Costa has a poetic and lyrical voice that is beautiful. It is an appeasing murmur conducive to meditation putting into question the acceptance of the mundane or the fashions of the moment which are often guided by economic pressures that erase us all under a blanket of sameness. It is a voice that wants the power of the word to remain pure so that it can reach us at a deep level and have an impact that goes well beyond the facades of easy, cheap rhetoric. It is a writing that asks you to slow down, to pause, in order to really understand what is happening to you and the world you live in. And that is the power of literature: a power we must not forego in the name of pressures that call for a writing that bypasses the syntaxes that really speak. Yes, because without pause, we disappear in the tumultuous violence of the overly convoluted, confusing and confused world we live in.

December 21, 2015 at 3:44am ·

Beyond Bullfights and Ice Hockey

3D-Book bullfight lrEssays on Identity, Language and Writing Culture

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Writers of the Portuguese Diaspora – Anthology

Writers of the Portuguese Diaspora in the United States and Canada: An Anthology

Editors Luis Gonçalves and Carlo Matos, Preface by George Monteiro

 

This anthology brings together fiction, poetry, recipes, and memoirs by some of the best Portuguese-Canadian and Portuguese-American writers to narrate the Portuguese Diasporic experience in North America. These works focus on lived experiences, shared spaces and the ethnic identity through which this distinctive culture is lived in the United States of America and Canada, both of which have long been home to significant and vibrant Portuguese communities that arrived roughly in the same waves of migration.

In this book, you will find a range of texts full of passion, wit, and poise, even as they wrestle with a sense of loss about the passing of the torch from generation to generation, the attempts at integration into the mainstream, and the often overlooked third space or otherness often felt by Portuguese-Canadians and Portuguese-Americans. There are also stories about the power gained from the preservation of cultural practices that promote a strong sense of self and strengthen family and community ties, and also the awareness that success can come from understanding one’s legacy.

We would like to emphasize that even though this anthology was compiled from the perspective of the Portuguese Diaspora to North America, the result goes beyond that community and reflects larger complexities of articulations in Canadian and American everyday life and identity that will resonate with people of any ancestry in these countries.

Among the many writers included are Katherine Vaz, George Monteiro, Irene Marques, Anthony Barcellos, August Mark Vaz, Millicent Borges Accardi, Sam Pereira, Darrell Kastin, paulo da costa and Frank X. Gaspar. Each of them offers a unique view on the heterogeneity, intricateness, and vibrancy of experiences of the Portuguese Diasporas in Canada and the United States.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface: A Word on Diasporas and the Anthology
by George Monteiro

Katherine Vaz
Taking a Stitch in a Dead Man’s Arm

Amy Sayre Baptista
The Fisherman’s Daughter Learns to Fly
Return of the Fisherman’s Daughter
The Fisherman’s Daughter Meets a Weird Sister
The Fisherman’s Daughter Gets a Lesson in Meteorology
Inês de Castro Ascends the Throne

George Monteiro
How I Emigrated to America, the Land of My Birth

Irene Marques
The Making of Beautiful Stories
The Blood of Goats
Taking Photographs

Antonio Ladeira
Outra mentira
Perder tempo
Na livraria
Talvez a beira de um lago
Alyse Knorr
The Great Inheritance
Fazenda

Richard Simas
Interrogations: Narrating Luso Diaspora, Fact or Ficção?

Anthony Barcellos
The Voyage to Brazil: May 1865

Diana Ramos Firestone
A Phone Call to the Azores
Immigration Tuesday at the Masonic Center
Working for a Better Future
Will I Ever Be Home?
Fado in a Portuguese Hall in Petaluma, CA
Provar: to Taste
A Confiançar: to Trust

Eduardo Bettencourt Pinto
A mãe da minha vida
The Mother of My Life (Trans.)
Angola
Angola (Trans.)
A poesia
Poetry (Trans.)
Mulher a jardinar
Woman Gardening (Trans.)

Brian Sousa
Just One Night

Ian E. Watts
praça do comércio

Jennifer Jean
Human
Dexter Asylum, Providence, RI 1932
The Wall

Esmeralda Cabral
A Hard Landing

João S Martins
vice–versa
Vice Versa (Trans.)
almanaque dos escritores
The Writers Almanac (Trans.)

Joe Amaral
The Invisible Minority
Pa Pops
Isabel
Hot Tub Time Machine

August Mark Vaz
Cooking with a Portuguese Flavor [w/ Elizabeth Vaz]
Whaling, Gold and Homesteading

Lara Gularte
Bound
Mrs. Madruga Prepares Her Granddaughter for Hard Times
Lost Currents
The White City

paulo da costa
“és a onda sonora”
“a luz do candeeiro de rua”
“nem todos os teus dedos”

Linette Escobar
Immigrant
Legacy
Family History Of
Rua de Cima
A Definition

Diniz Borges
My Azorean–American Journey

Marina Carreira
Shrinking Violet
Luso–American Ephemera in Avó’s Old Armoire
A Girl’s Fado
Ironbound

Millicent Borges Accardi
Breaking with the Old
If I Had not Read the Book, I’d Still Have Believed
Musings in January
Arriving at the Place of the Pain
Start Here

Sarah Chaves
Dobra Lingua

Emanuel Melo
The Cottage Visit

Nancy Vieira Couto
Angie Appropriates a Bar or Two
Grains of Salt
Madragana Wears Her New Name
My Father Glows in the Dark
The Unfinished Girls in Pink

PaulA Neves
Train to Lisbon
The (Almost) Married Couple’s Guide to Tourist Traps
Three Season Year
11th Birthday
Capricornucopia (or The Dream of the Goats)
Kiss My Black Ass: A Meditation

Miguel Moniz
News from New Guinea
News from New Guinea

Jozhe
“Que curiosidade reveladora”
“A certain sniffing curiosity” (Trans.)
“A tua beleza contemplo”
“At your beauty I gaze” (Trans.)

Manuel Carvalho
Montesinhos
Tributo

Catarina Costa Laranjeira
Life Lessons from an Orange Tree

Rose Silva King
Longing for my Homeland

Sam Pereira
In the Name of the Holy Ghost
Sonnet Declaring the Wind Victorious
Salvation of Any Kind
The Suck of Love
Scars and T–birds

Darrell Kastin
The Secret Place

Frank X. Gaspar
Black Notebook, #5, Lisbon
The Sermon of Saint Anthony to the Fish
September 10th—Black Notebook #2
Black Notebook, Psalm 15, Dead Sea Scrolls, New Bedford

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New short-story in Stand Magazine

stand

STAND magazine is a quarterly print magazine for men who give a damn about being better men, better husbands, better fathers, better partners, better brothers, better friends, better sons, better neighbors, better citizens.

STAND magazine, issue two, highlights several individuals and companies attempting to do just that, including Christian Birky, the founder of Detroit-based fashion label Lazlo, and William McDonough and Michael Braungart, authors of Cradle to Cradle. The issue includes a short story by paulo da costa.

Swedish writer Ulf Peter Hallberg remembers his father and we then look at the very serious issue of human trafficking with photojournalist Tim Matsui. Writer Steve Almond tells us why he turned against football after years of being a fan of the game.

stand2

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New poem in Contemporary Verse 2

cv2-38-3-cover-web-200

Contemporary Verse 2 volume 38.3 “The Open Issue” marks the beginning of CV2‘s fifth decade and features the winners of the Young Buck Poetry Prize and 2-Day Poem Contest. The issue includes new poetry from Sarah Klassen, John Wall Barger, Linda Frank, paulo da costa and Ted Landrum as well as several book reviews.

New poems by:

Kayla Krut
Stephen Matthew Brown
Jesse Matas
Penn Kemp
Kelly Stewart
John Wall Barger
Paula Jane Remlinger
Wanda Campbell
Glen Sorestad
Sarah Klassen
paulo da costa
Ted Landrum
Shauntay Grant
Patricia Young
Linda Fran
Ruth Daniell
Michelle Brown
Rebecca Salazar
Carter Vance
Claire Kelly
Steven Slowka
Leslie Casey
Michael Fraser
Medrie Purdham
Cana Donovan
Sneha Madhavan-Reese
Sandra Kasturi

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Interview in Portuguese-American Review

original interview in Portuguese-American Review

 

Portuguese-American Review – Congratulations on publishing “Beyond Bullfights and Ice Hockey: Essays on Language, Identity and Writing Culture”. What is this book’s genre or category?
paulo da costa –
The book can be seen as a creative non-fiction collection of texts that stretches its traditional essay-like boundaries past the more journalistic or academic essay by its irreverence, humour and often its embrace of a poetic tone to deliver thought through the vein of beauty. I hope it will be seen as a garden of beautiful words with philosophical substance. A poet at heart can never abstain from wrapping his thoughts in beauty. An edible garden that is also pleasing to the eye and the spirit as all our farms and gardens should be.

PAR – Please describe what the book is about.
pc –
The essays, thoughts, inner conversations, arguments and rambles in this book have been written over the course of the past twenty-odd years and depict the evolution of my reflections on subjects of individual, linguistic and cultural identity, in particular when one is faced with relocation and in the context of the emigration/immigration experience. The last section of the book explores the role of literature and authors in our modern societies, the perennial challenges faced by those of us in the profession of letters amid an adverse, mercantilist and cut-throat neo-liberal environment.

PAR – What led you to write this book?
pc –
The necessity to find clarity and self-encouragement by naming the obstacles, revisiting my experiences, exploring possible solutions found along my personal path as a cultural worker. A calling I am devoted to even if not cherished and rewarded by most people or societies in this and many other times and places in History.

PAR – What was your biggest surprise during the writing of the book?
pc –
That the texts carried a strong connecting spine along two decades of pondering and meditations, that they could deliver a body of coherent thought and views to now become a book.

PAR – What would you have done differently if you could do it again?
pc –
Wire the book to my brain and allow the reader an updating of those views, arguments and meditations in my constantly evolving mind. This has traditionally been the advantage of the oral tradition over the static book, when it can only offer a frozen slice of a person’s state of mind at the time and place of a thought’s conception. It could only offer a one-sided conversation to the reader. In the past the book conversation could only grow outward, as a departure point from the original text finding its continued life in tertúlias or conversation, letters exchanged, disagreements and arguments erupting from its reading. Perhaps now the new electronic production of books will allow a speedier inclusion and update to this ever continuous flow of the writer’s mind … as well as more inclusive conversation with the reader.

PAR – Best piece(s) of advice for Portuguese-Americans and Portuguese-Canadians who want to write?
pc –
Even though the latest generation of Portuguese-Americans and Portuguese-Canadians have culturally inherited a challenging landscape, that in general, did not value our voices, views and experiences due to the socio-economic context of our North-American emigration, the time is now ripe to set free those once tentative whispers that survived behind closets and altars, wine cellars and sports chatter. Although the time between the landing of our bodies and the finding of our voices on these shores shows a significant lag, we have now finally arrived and our experiences, dreams and reflections do matter.

PAR – Tells us something personal about you that people may be surprised to know?
pc –
I nearly failed high-school English as a teenager in Portugal. It reveals again that one’s biggest challenges might turn into our greatest gifts, as long as we are willing to find the strength and perseverance to overcome and transform them. I wished my then English teacher could stumble upon my books now. We might find a mischievous smile on her face.

PAR – Do you have a website?
pc –
You can find me at www.paulodacosta.com or www.paulodacosta.ca

PAR – Now your book is out, what’s your next project?
pc –
I have several books of poetry and fiction due to be released in the coming years. Meanwhile, I am working on finishing three novels which are at varied stages of (d)evolution. The latest and most exciting work is a novel with its foreground on the resistance underground movements that led to the Portuguese Carnation revolution and the decolonization of the Portuguese territories in Africa.

PAR – What book by a Portuguese-American or Portuguese-Canadian writer do you recommend to our readers?
pc –
I have great admiration for the work of Eduardo Bettencourt Pinto who I see as one of the most remarkable poets alive in the Portuguese language. He has been neglected both in Portugal and in the Diaspora partly due to writing solely or mostly in Portuguese, far from the literary spheres of influence and visibility which are mostly located in Lisbon. Any book by him is a rich, rewarding experience. One could start by Sombra de uma Rosa, a short-story collection. Of course there are many other talented writers in the Diaspora and I would encourage readers to explore them in the just released anthology: Writers of the Portuguese Diaspora in the United States and Canada.

 

da costa, paulopaulo da costa was born in Luanda, Angola and raised in Vale de Cambra, Portugal. While concluding his degree in Coimbra, he left on a short holiday and never returned, travelling extensively around the globe and ending up living and working in four continents. When he decided to settle he elected one of the most beautiful and wild areas the planet: the Canadian West. He first lived in the mountains and foothills of the Canadian Rockies enjoying getting lost in the mountains and more recently moved to the shores of the Pacific waters on Vancouver Island. He feels most comfortable when knowing there are grizzly or brown bears, wolves, whales, sea lions and cougars nearby to make him feel more human and part of the rich diversity of life on our planet.
paulo’s first book of fiction, The Scent of a Lie, received the 2003 Commonwealth First Book Prize for the Canada-Caribbean Region, the W. O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize and the Canongate Prize in Scotland for the title story. In Portuguese he has published a collection of poetry, notas-de-rodapé (2005) and has received the ProVerbo prizes in fiction and poetry. His poetry and fiction have been published in literary magazines around the world and have been translated to Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Serbian, Slovenian and Portuguese. Besides his 7 books: Beyond Bullfights and Ice Hockey, (essays), The Green and Purple Skin of the World, (fiction), The Scent of a Lie (fiction), Midwife of Torment and Other Stories – fiction (2017), The Cartography of Being, (poetry) Nuno Júdice translated by paulo da costa, O Perfume da Mentira (ficção), notas de rodapé (poesia), he has also published 4 original audio books: Twenty Poems (poetry), The Book of Catalogues (fiction), notas de rodapé (poesia), XX Poemas (poesia).

As a translator paulo has brought to the English-speaking readers a range of Portuguese poets including Nuno Júdice, Al Berto and Daniel Faria. To the Portuguese-speaking readers, and among others, he has translated the Canadian poets, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Gary Geddes, Patrick Lane and Marilyn Bowering. The Cartography of Being, Selected Poems of Nuno Júdice 1976-2005 (2012) is his latest book of translations.

 

original interview in Portuguese-American Review

Comments:

Irene Marques ·

Paulo da Costa has a poetic and lyrical voice that is beautiful. It is an appeasing murmur conducive to meditation putting into question the acceptance of the mundane or the fashions of the moment which are often guided by economic pressures that erase us all under a blanket of sameness. It is a voice that wants the power of the word to remain pure so that it can reach us at a deep level and have an impact that goes well beyond the facades of easy, cheap rhetoric. It is a writing that asks you to slow down, to pause, in order to really understand what is happening to you and the world you live in. And that is the power of literature: a power we must not forego in the name of pressures that call for a writing that bypasses the syntaxes that really speak. Yes, because without pause, we disappear in the tumultuous violence of the overly convoluted, confusing and confused world we live in.
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The Guest who refuses to be polite – impressions by Emanuel Melo

I’m hanging out with paulo da costa these days. On the crowded subway ride to work in the morning and again in the evening on the way home I listen to him; those around me don’t. But I prefer listening to him when I get inside my solitude, sitting on my sofa, in the quiet of my library, where I can be attentive without the pull of people’s chatter. Even at four in the morning, when I cannot sleep, he is still talking. Non-stop. He is the guest who refuses to go home at a decent hour and so, to be polite, I let him speak his words. He gives advice, reflections, meditations; he tries out his thoughts on me, even though too late to change his mind for they are all written down permanently on paper and can only be left alone or ignored or forgotten, if I simply turn the page.

paulo, in the minúscula, is easy, lightweight on my hands, malleable and fluid to the touch, a pleasurable sensation to flip through pages whose words jump out, making my fingers stop the flipping before moving on to the next page, to ponder, read again, turn the page back even. Did I miss the meaning of that sentence? Can I savor the pleasure of repeating that phrase? He says things that I wish I had said. Perhaps I have thought about many of the points he makes, his observations, his conclusions, but he does it so much better and I have been too lazy to give life to my thoughts, I have left the words unwritten, floating in my memory, in chaos. And I find them coherently plagiarized by osmosis. My thoughts are not your thoughts, cautions Jesus. His thoughts are words written down, but he speaks them to me: stories in more than one language. He assumes that I understand. And, of course, I do. That’s why we can hang out together before the dawn breaks. But that’s not the point. He inhabits several worlds, at least two that I am familiar with. I can follow his português side by side with his inglês train of thought. I don’t need the translation even when he, thoughtfully, explains the context of one lexicon to another.

I get up to make tea and when I return he’s still there on the sofa, waiting, alert, eager to keep talking, to keep showing me words, and I sit again and listen some more. My eyes, getting blurred with exhaustion, take in the letters and translate them into inner linguist sounds in my head, heard in his calm, mellifluous, slow voice, with a hint of an accent, foreign yet not foreign.

It all depends on which side of the accent you find yourself. I finally tell him to stop, for now. My brain is fatigued and I need to be alert to grasp the meaning of what he says. I tell him; no, I don’t really tell him anything. I just close him up tightly inside the smooth blanket parchment cover with the drawing of a hockey player and a Palaeolithic bull against a clean white background. BEYOND BULLFIGHTS AND ICE HOCKEY Identity, Language and Writing Culture paulo da costa.

I will open him up again later, and listen some more. We’re not done yet.
Emanuel Melo – Toronto (Scarborough Bluffs to be more precise), December 7, 2015

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Para lá das Touradas e Hóquei no Gelo

Para lá das Touradas e Hóquei no Gelo
– Uma Arquitetura da Identidade Multicultural –

Homens que são como lugares mal situados
Homens que são como casas saqueadas
[…]
Homens encarcerados abrindo-se com facas
Homens que são como danos irreparáveis
Homens que são sobreviventes vivos
Homens que são como sítios desviados
Do lugar

Daniel Faria

As minhas primeiras memórias, os meus primeiros aromas e sons são de Angola. Um mundo colorido pela sua geografia de calor e perfumado pelas suas culturas, espiritualidades e musicalidades. A minha experiência do continente Africano foi efémera, uma vez que um punhado de anos mais tarde, os meus pais regressaram à sua terra natal em Portugal, onde fui criado no vale do Rio Caima, circundado por socalcos de vinho verde e canas de milho no âmago da Beira Litoral.

De mochila aos ombros e à boleia, comecei a viajar aos quatorze anos, primeiro em Portugal e posteriormente pela Europa e Ásia. Mais tarde, com os meus primeiros passos na vida adulta, viajei e trabalhei pelo mundo por quatro anos, tendo ao longo desses caminhos também vivido e trabalhado no Canadá, Inglaterra e Austrália. Depois de visitar fragmentos do nosso vasto planeta e cruzado várias longitudes e latitudes, elegi o Canadá como o meu lugar desejado para soltar as minhas novas raízes. Escolhi viver nesse país, o Canadá, porque estimo uma sociedade onde a diversidade cultural é incentivada e protegida.

Presumo que tenha lutado com desafios semelhantes aos enfrentados por todos os imigrantes em qualquer lugar do planeta. Questões de identidade, pertença e alienação, de integração, assimilação, e sim, também de resistência ao meu país de acolhimento. A príncipio vivi num vai-vem interior entre o Canadá e Portugal, sentindo-me nem Português nem Canadiano, e ansiando sempre por tudo de que me apercebia ausente em cada uma das culturas. Nesse meu estado inicial de separação e ansiedade, sentia-me atormentado e confuso, rasgado de ambas as culturas. Para agravar essa experiência, as pessoas no Canadá interagiam comigo como se eu fosse um alienígena, a minha voz como é óbvio revelava o forte sotaque de um recém-chegado.

Com o correr do tempo, percebi que me lesava a mim próprio ao aceitar as percepções alheias sobre mim como se fossem minhas. Percebi que eu era obviamente quem se encontrava incerto sobre a minha identidade ao aceitar a visão alheia sobre quem deveria ser. Comecei então a encontrar serenidade interna e equilíbrio quando recusei requisitos reais ou imaginários do Estado, da comunidade e das culturas em ambos os lados do Atlântico, quando recusei aceitar as suas expectativas e avaliações de pertença como se fossem as minhas. Agora sei que sou o única pessoa que pode mudar o que sinto sobre quem sou. Essa metamorfose iniciou-se quando aceitei as diferenças e contradições dentro de mim. Agora sinto-me 100% Português e 100% Canadiano, e ninguém me pode alterar esse sentimento. De seguida, ler-vos-ei um poema que ilustrou a minha chegada a essa nova percepção de mim mesmo.

*
vive
entre portugal e canadá

touradas e hóquei no gelo
bacalhau e salmão

o que se traduz por um viver
itinerante e impertinente

vive
naquela nuvem de alta ou baixa pressão
naquele espaço impermanente
sem raízes e ervas daninhas

formas, identidades e pensamentos
reinventam-se com os ventos

materializam-se e evaporam-se
nas rugas quer do atlântico quer do pacífico

vive
nessa nuvem sem bandeiras
onde o som distante dos hinos
se esvanesse no sussurro da história

e as trovoadas emudecem os canhões

A diversidade, tão importante na construção de uma identidade individual como na sociedade em geral, implica uma visão do multiculturalismo para além de ilhas culturais isoladas que pontilham um país. Proponho um multiculturalismo enraizado no indivíduo e não no grupo, um mosaico cultural pessoal permitindo que tu e eu nos entrelacemos e pertençamos a um ramo complexo de heranças culturais, de línguas e interações.

No percurso da minha vida tenho-me envolvido num trabalho consciente de questionar os valores herdados do meu património cultural, e assim, não simplesmente engoli-los através do hábito da repetição cega. Desejo que os meus valores, incluindo os meus valores culturais, reflitam as minhas escolhas conscientes … e em consciência. Este trabalho de filtrar e avaliar a atmosfera cultural em que se respira, e de estabelecer escolhas conscientes, decorre ao longo de toda uma vida e requer resistência e perseverança. Ao mesmo tempo, a recompensa será distinta. A cultura não nasce da conceção imaculada ou é geneticamente adquirida, reflete sim o tempo e o esforço investidos em cultivar a sua prática. Identidade desdobra-se em ação. Como opto por me identificar como sendo 100% Canadiano e 100% Português, necessito apenas de compartilhar algumas dessas características para sentir a minha plena adesão. Sou um Português atípico e um Canadiano atípico. Todos somos seres individuais. Sou um Português que decidiu desde 1992 não comer carne, gosto de azeitonas ao pequeno-almoço, e visto-me de todas as cores do arco-íris. Sou também um Canadiano sui generis, um que não pede desculpas quando, num autocarro repleto, a pessoa ao meu lado me acabou de calcar o pé. Não jogo à loteria do 6/49. Não aprecio hóquei no gelo e a violência intrínseca a esse jogo. É a minha participação a nível político, social e comunitário que me insere cívica e culturalmente tanto nas sociedades Canadiana como Portuguesa. Sou um cidadão envolvido e criativo em ambas as culturas. Não necessito de encaixar como uma luva para me sentir ligado e de descobrir um sentido de pertença a qualquer uma das culturas.

É irónico que eu não me tenha identificado com a cultura que me rodeava, enquanto crescia em Portugal. Eu não encontrava expressão e ligação aos valores da cultura predominante, e vivendo num meio quase-rural, os modelos de cultura alternativa à minha disposição eram inexistentes. Também cresci numa época onde as touradas eram transmitidas semanalmente na TV Portuguesa durante a temporada de Verão. No entanto, nunca compartilhei o interesse ou a excitação expressa pela família e amigos, enquanto observavam um animal encurralado numa arena sujeito a tortura e sofrimento para o humano prazer de entretenimento vespertino. A minha sensibilidade não encontrava um eco de mim mesmo em tal prática cultural, nem tão pouco em muitas outras práticas e valores que promoviam linhas estreitas de identificação, supostamente comuns a todos os cidadãos e, sem dúvida, compartilhada. Foi só depois de ter partido de Portugal, viajado e residido noutras partes do mundo que encontrei ligação com a minha identidade cultural como Português. Uma identidade que eu senti não tinha que prescrever a clichés de identidade ou teria de comprometer o meu sentido fundamental da diferença. Neste mesmo sentido, não vejo o meu Canadianismo refletido nos traços gerais dessa nação. Adoro patinar nos lagos gelados das Montanhas Rochosas, deslizando sob o céu da estrela do norte, adoro os doces de Nanaimo, o xarope de Ácer nas panquecas, e uma vez mais repito, que não sou um fã de hóquei no gelo. Reconheço que a escolha da minha existência reflete e requer um conforto pessoal de residir nas margens de qualquer sociedade. Eu gosto das margens, nas margens encontro o espaço para crescer.

(… continua …)

extrato e tradução da versão inglesa publicada no livro

Paperback: 207 pages / Publisher: Boavista Press / USA (2015) /Language: English / ISBN-10: 9960511-3-2 /ISBN-13: 978-0-9960511-3-2

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