Poet: Waly Salomão
Translator: Maryam Monalisa Gharavi
In the Face of the Latest Events
Six poems by Waly Salomão, translated from Portuguese by Maryam Monalisa Gharavi
Waly Salomão, (1943-2003) was one of the foremost 20th-century experimental poets of South America. In 1995, his fifth book of poetry, Algaravias: Echo Chamber won Brazil’s highest literary prize, the Prêmio Jabuti. Born in Jequié, Bahia, to a Syrian immigrant father and a Brazilian mother, Salomão carved out an early career as a songwriter to major Tropicália vocalists, including Gal Costa and Caetano Veloso. In 1970, at the height of Brazil’s military regime, he was imprisoned at Carandiru prison in São Paulo. The author of more than ten books, his poetry has been included in major anthologies including Nothing the Sun Could Explain: New Brazilian Poetry (Sun & Moon Press, 2000). Following the author’s death, the Waly Salomão Cultural Center was established in Rio de Janeiro.
Maryam Monalisa Gharavi is an artist, poet, and theorist whose work explores the interplay between aesthetic and political valences in the public domain. Recent exhibitions, residencies, and expanded publications include Sonic Acts, Matadero Museum, Nottingham Contemporary, Pioneer Works, Parasol Unit, Serpentine Cinema, Brooklyn Public Library, Wysing Arts Centre, Delfina Foundation, Darat al Funun, among others. She has served as lecturer, visiting faculty, and studio artist at Harvard University, Sandburg Instituut, New York University, Northeastern University, Montclair State University, Valand Academy, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, and Bard Microcollege. Book publications include Waly Salomão’s Algaravias: Echo Chamber (Ugly Duckling Presse), nominated for a PEN Award for Poetry in Translation; The Distancing Effect (BlazeVOX); and Bio (Inventory Press). Artist books include Apparent Horizon 2 (Bonington Gallery); Alphabet of an Unknown City (Belladonna*), Secret Catalan Poem (The Elephants), Mohammad Wikipedia Book (Recess), and Dictionary of Night, co-authored with Mirene Arsanios (Ashkal Alwan). She was editor at The New Inquiry between 2012 and 2017, where she is author of the open text South/South. She lives and works in New York.
Pára de ondular, agora, cobra coral:
a fim de que eu copie as cores com que te adornas,
a fim de que eu faça um colar para dar à minha amada,
a fim de que tua beleza
reinam sobre as cobras não corais.
Stop undulating, now, coral snake:
so that I copy the colors with which you adorn yourself,
so that I make a necklace to give to my beloved,
so that your beauty
reign over the non-coral snakes.
Cauda de cometa tonto
Sem alfa nem ômega
Sem casulo a que nostalgiar
Sem oficina de reparo & recauchutagem
Sem borboleta que regrida à anterior criSálida
Dizzy Comet Tail
Without alpha or omega
Without a cocoon for nostalgia
Without a repair & tune-up shop
Without a butterfly to regress to its former chrysalis
Amante da algazarra
Silogismos da amargura
Syllogisms of Bitterness