Interviewing Adília Lopes
Lisbon, August 2017
For our interview, we met at café Danúbio, in Lisbon. The Portuguese poet Adília Lopes was already waiting for us there (she’d arrived at least 20 minutes before the time we agreed on). We brought the questions we prepared, the interview went as planned, but we also talked about her neighbourhood, about poplars and cherry trees, about dreams and nightmares, and about eating cakes before enjoying the beauty of cathedrals.
Jogos Florais: Do you like poetry?
Adília Lopes: [laughs] Sometimes I don’t, sometimes I don’t….
JF: We often think about the posterity of poets. How do you see yourself in a hundred years, in a literary encyclopaedia entry?
I don’t see myself like that, no.
JF: Isn’t there something you’d like to read about yourself?
No, I never imagine that. There’s a sentence where Fernando Pessoa says that Milton didn’t do anything without thinking about his future fame. I think about the present, I don’t really think about the future, I think about the present.
JF: What would you ask another poet? If there was someone you admired, what questions would you ask them?
I don’t think I’d ask them anything. I would say “good morning” or “good afternoon”, like I do at coffee shops. I wouldn’t ask anything, I don’t know…
JF: When you read poets you like, do you not wonder about something you’d like to ask them or tell them?
No, I don’t think so. I understand why people would interview writers, the ones who write novels, poems. They may talk about what they wrote, what they do, what they live, how they see things, but I don’t think I’d ask… I talk to a poet or a novelist like I talk to the baker, to the waiter, to the postman. That’s how it is.
JF: All of them have interesting things to say.
Yes, all of them have interesting things to say.
JF: We asked some people who admire your work whether they had questions for you. For instance, a costume designer asked if you could describe a dress with which you’ve always dreamed, but never had. If there was any…
[Laughs] When I was 30 years old and such, I liked that French couturier, Christian Lacroix. Of course I would never have enough money to by one of his dresses, nor would spending money on a dress would ever cross my mind, but I liked those really colourful clothes that remind us of Spanish or Russian folklore costumes… I wouldn’t go out wearing something like that, but I enjoyed those garments… from the theatre, the opera.
JF: Who would you like to play you in a film about your life?
An actress? I’m thinking, this takes some time… It can’t be her, because she already died, but I liked this American actress very much, Lillian Gish, from silent films and such. I liked her very much. Of course she doesn’t resemble me one bit, but I really like her in silent films and the like. Maybe I would enjoy being portrayed in a silent film.
JF: Do you have any relation with the literary scene?
I don’t really connect with the literary scene, I don’t know many people, nor any, I don’t know anyone in the literary scene, I don’t.
JF: And do you care for it?
No, I don’t. I have this idea that it is full of gossip and such, like in every profession, or any other human scene, not just in jobs, everywhere. And I don’t care for that.
Translation Rita Furtado