Oswald de Andrade: Biography and Poems | Brazilian Poetry

Oswald de Andrade Brazilan Poet


José Oswald de Souza Andrade (January 11, 1890 – October 22, 1954) was a Brazilian poet novelist and cultural critic. He was born and spent most of his life in São Paulo. Andrade was one of the founders of Brazilian modernism. He participated in the Week of Modern Art (Semana de Arte Moderna). Andrade is particularly important for his Manifesto Antropófago (Anthropophagist Manifesto), published in 1928. Its argument is that colonized countries, such as Brazil, should ingest the culture of the colonizer and digest it in its own way.

Portuguese error

When the Portuguese arrived
In pouring rain
They clothed the Indian
What a shame!
Had it been a sunny morning
The Indian would have stripped
The Portuguese.

Song of going home

My land has palm trees
Where the sea twitters
The little birds over here
Don’t sing like those over there
My land has more roses
And almost more lovers
My land has more gold
My land has more land
Gold land love and roses
I want everything my land has
God don’t let me die
Before going back home
God don’t let me die
Without seeing 15th Street again
And the progress of Sao Paulo.

The discovery

We followed our course on that long sea
Until the eighth day of Easter
Sailing alongside birds
We sighted land
the savages
We showed them a chicken
Almost frightening them
They didn’t want to touch it
Then they took it, stupefied
it was fun
After a dance
Diogo Dias
Did a somersault
the young whores
Three or four girls really fit very nice
With long jet-black hair
And shameless tits so high so shapely
We all had a good look at them
We were not in the least ashamed.

Translated by Natalie d’Arbeloff