Conceição Evaristo: Biography and Poems | Brazilian Poetry

Conceição Evaristo Brazilian Poet


Maria da Conceição Evaristo de Brito (born November 29, 1946) is a Brazilian writer. She was born in a favela in the southern area of Belo Horizonte, to a very poor family with nine brothers and her mother. She had to work as a domestic servant during her youth until she finished her normal course in 1971, at the age of 25. Conceição Evaristo is a great exponent of contemporary Brazilian literature. She writes about race, gender and class discrimination, especially of black women.

In Writing...

In writing hunger
With empty-palmed hands
when the hole-stomach
expels famished desires
there is, in this demented movement
the dream-hoping
for any leftovers.

In writing cold
with the tip of my bones
caring in my body the tremor
of pain and shelterless-ness
there is, in this tense movement
the warmth-hoping
for any miserable little vest.

In writing pain,
searching for the resonance
of another in me
there is in this constant movement
the illusion-hoping
for our doubled consonance.

In writing life
fading and swimming
on departure’s test tube
there is, in this useless movement
the treacherous-hoping
for catching Time
and caressing eternity.

Translated by (?)

Women Voices

The voice of my great-grandmother
echoed as a child
inside the ship’s bowels.
Echoing moans
of a lost childhood.

The voice of my grandmother
echoed obedience
to the white-owners of everything.

The voice of my mother
whispered echoes of revolt
in the very end of the other’s kitchens
under the trusses
of whites’ dirty linen
along the dusty road
towards the slum.

My voice still
echoes perplexing verses
in rhymes of blood

The voice of my daughter
uniting all our voices
gathers within itself
the dumb silenced voices
choking in our throats.
The voice of my daughter
gathers within itself
speech and action.
Yesterday - today - now.
In my daughter’s voice
the resonance will be heard
the echo of freedom-life.

Translated by Maria Aparecida Salgueiro de Andrade and Antonio D. Tillis

My Equal Body

In the darkness of the night
my equal body
diffuses dangers
deciphers messages
whistles and tam-tams.

In equal darkness
my night body
opens volcanically
the ethnic skin
that dresses me.

In the darkness of the night
my equal body
floats tears, oceanlike,
sieving searches
nailing dreams
quilombo-gathering hopes
in the darkness of the night.

Translated by Maria Aparecida Salgueiro de Andrade and Antonio D. Tillis