Fernando Pessoa - An Astonishing Poet

Ângela SantosStarred Page By Ângela Santos, 25th Oct 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Poetry

In this page you'll get to know one of the best poets of all time: Fernando Pessoa


Pessoa is, by far, my personal favourite poet and probably the most notorious portuguese poet ever. He is particularly known for his heteronyms, dozens of them (he didn't like the name 'pseudonyms' because he felt that the word did not capture the true independent identity of each persona). The most well-know are: Fernando Pessoa orthonym, Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis, Álvaro de Campos, and semi-heteronym Bernardo Soares (the last two are the ones I love the most). Each heteronym possesses a distinct biography, temperament, appearance and writing style.


Common themes on Fernando Pessoa's (orthonym) poetry:
- The Pain of Thinking and the Bless of Ignorance
- Artistic Pretense
- Childhood Nostalgia
- Fragmentation of the "Self" - Existential Boredom
- Sincerity / Pretending
- Consciousness / Unconsciousness
- To Feel / To Think

My personal favourite orthonym poems:
- "She sings, poor reaper" - "Ela canta, pobre ceifeira"
- "I dream. I don't know who I am at this moment" - "Eu sonho. Não sei quem sou neste momento"
- "I don’t know how many souls I have" - "Não sei quantas almas tenho"

Alberto Caeiro

Common themes on Alberto Caeiro's poetry:
- Objectivism
- Anti-metaphysical
- Sensationism

My personal favourite Caeiro poem:
- "I am the size of what I see" - "Sou do tamanho do que vejo"

Ricardo Reis

Common themes on Ricardo Reis's poetry:
- Epicureanism
- Stoicism
- Paganism

My personal favourite Reis poems:
- "Come sit by my side Lydia, on the bank of the river" - "Vem sentar-te comigo, Lídia, à beira do rio"
- "Want little: You'll have everything" - "Quer pouco: terás tudo"

Álvaro de Campos

Common themes on Álvaro de Campos's poetry:
- Literary Decadence (1st phase)
- Futurism (2nd phase)
- Pessimism - Exhaustion and Apathy (3rd phase)

My personal favourite Campos poems:
- "Tobbaco Shop" - "Tabacaria"
- "What is in me is above all weariness" - "O que há em mim é sobretudo cansaço"
- "All love letters are ridiculous" - "Todas as cartas de amor são ridículas"
- "I'm beginning to know myself. I don't exist" - "Começo a conhecer-me. Não existo"
- "My soul shattered like an empty vase" - "A minha alma partiu-se como um vaso vazio"

Bernardo Soares

Semi-heteronym Bernardo Soares:
You MUST read "The Book of Disquiet" - "O Livro do Desassossego".
You can find some excerpts on the link I provided. This book is kind of a fragmentary deposit of sadness. Some parts of this book are some of the most beautiful prose written in Portuguese language. Themes from all the poems of all the other heteronyms run through this book, like structural ghosts. The fragments on the book come from a spectral analysis of all the experiences that teemed within Fernando Pessoa, jostling and tripping over each other to become real or, little by little, fade into a lower darkness, as spirits who got tired of showing up when summoned too often.


Fernando Pessoa, Poems, Poetry, Poets, Portugal, Portuguese

Meet the author

author avatar Ângela Santos
Portuguese. 23 years old. Studying Criminology. In love with poetry.

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author avatar AjaySinghChauhan
25th Oct 2014 (#)

very interesting, thanks for sharing it with us

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author avatar Ângela Santos
25th Oct 2014 (#)

Thank you Ajay :)

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author avatar Utah Jay
25th Oct 2014 (#)

I must admit that I have never read this man, this poet, but now I will…Thanks for the introduction.

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author avatar Ângela Santos
25th Oct 2014 (#)

He's a very well kept secret, unfortunately.
So glad to hear that, hope you enjoyed the poems I selected.
He was a prolific writer so you have A LOT to read (although much of his work was never translated).

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author avatar AjaySinghChauhan
25th Oct 2014 (#)

nice post i like it

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author avatar Colekdikit
26th Oct 2014 (#)

good post ilike it

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author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
3rd Dec 2014 (#)

Wonderful! Quick question: how different is Brazilian Portuguese? To my dumb ear, I don't hear the difference, but many people say it's enormous.

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author avatar Ângela Santos
4th Dec 2014 (#)

Yup, I woud say it's a huge difference. Take for example: "I love you" = brazilian "eu te amo" // portuguese "eu amo-te".
They conjugate verbs differently, and we have several different words.
Hear this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmN1q4ogMkg (the guy is brazilian, the girl is portuguese).

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