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Filtering by Tag: João Brandão


Maria S. Mendes




No princípio era o ar.

Ricardo Tiago Moura,  Airspace / Espaço Aéreo. London: Carnaval Press, 2017.

Aqui publicado com a autorização do autor e da editora. 



One of the main reasons why I like this poem so much (it opens the brief book Espaço Aéreo/Air Space, published first in Brazil in 2014 and later, in 2017, in London, by Carnaval Press, on a bilingual edition) is the intuition that it will be very hard to explain in few words why I like it so much. And also because it is a poem that, though extremely short — six words and three punctuation marks in total, title included —, does everything but impose its brevity as a law, a program, an ideal or a speech model; quite the contrary, this abbreviation operation is like slightly opening a door that gives onto a seemingly infinite space, where each one is handed the freedom to speak for as long as they want and how they see fit to do, without limitations of any sort and without excluding or belittling the choice to remain silent.

To say that this poem chooses to say little is, therefore, saying very little. In fact, “:departures:” prefers to say almost nothing. A title that is no more than a common airport sign diverted to the space of poetry and a sentence that is a minute variation of the first assertion of the inaugural verse of the Gospel of John (“In the beginning was the Word, […]”). Two cuts, so to speak, are what Ricardo Tiago Moura needs to edit a poem. Between the title and the sentence, a white interval notoriously minor than the remaining white space below the isolated half-line that stands as the poem’s only “stanza”. This abundance of white points out that restraint and austerity of means are not what is at stake here: in fact, what the poem concerns itself with is luxury, the supremely ironic luxury of resorting to all the blankness that poetry may find more convenient.

Such luxury, like in all great poetry, stands as an affirmation of freedom. As are others that make me like this poem so much: that of using more than one idiom; that of not loosing sight of biographical circumstances [“Airspace (Espaço Aéreo) is a collection of poems written in airports by the Portuguese poet Ricardo Tiago Moura”, states the online page of Carnaval Press]; that of using punctuation according to unconventional rules (colons before and after the title word, in lieu of quotes, but yielding a totally different effect); that of correcting one of the founding texts of Western culture while eschewing its metaphysical and logocentric arrogance. Above all, the striking freedom — for me, who am no poet — of never acknowledging that everything has been written before without adding at once that all remains to be said, especially what is more elemental, simple, obvious.

This return to the beginning, now from the point of view of aviation, sets up a starting point leading to unforeseeable destinies. With it ends the era of the poets addicted to the weariness of poetry itself.

Gustavo Rubim

Translation João Brandão

Gustavo Rubim enjoys the rare poets who are also opium-eaters. He is a compulsive, though rather slow, reader, which is why he became a literature professor (Universidade Nova de Lisboa). He is also a slow writer and seldom do his essays have more than fifteen pages. He photographs Ibises and Black Redstarts, among others.