Sunday, 22 November 2009


Carlos Drummond de Andrade was one of the most influential brazilian poets of all time. His poems, particularly later works, were modernist pieces, fluent, elegant and speech like, dealing often with themes of desolation and angst in the quotidian. He also had highly politicized poems and a metaphysical canon.

He was born in 1902 in Minas Gerais, but spent much of his life in Rio de Janeiro. He was known to be a somewhat shy and unimposing man, as well as slightly self-deprecating. Before his death in 1989, he wrote a self-portrait claiming

"Mr. Carlos Drummond de Andrade is a adequate writer who thinks himself a good poet, in which he is deluded. Having signed some short stories and articles as a writer he has revealed a knowledge of certain gracious forms of expression, certain humour and malice. As a poet, he lacks all these qualities and, furthermore, has the following defects: he is maimed, arbitrary, unsoundly, grotesque and foolish.'

It Didn’t Pass
Carlos Drummond de Andrade
Translation: Adam Charles

Did it pass?
Tiny eternities
swallowed through minimal watches
they resonate in the cavernous mind.

No, no one died, no one was unhappy.
The hand- your hand, our hands-
wrinkled, with an ancient heat
of when we were alive. Were we?

Today we are more alive than ever.
A lie, we are alone.
Nothing, that I feel, really passes.
It is all the illusion that it has passed.

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