Paulo Leminski: Biography and Poems | Brazilian Poetry

Paulo Lesminski Brazilian Poet


Paulo Leminski Filho (August 24, 1944 – June 7, 1989) was a Brazilian poet, translator, literary critic, biographer, teacher and judoka. He was noted for his avant-garde work, an experimental novel and poetry inspired in concrete poetry, as well as abundant short lyrics derived from haiku and related forms. Leminski was a polyglot; he knew French, English, Spanish, Japanese, Latin and Greek. He translated into Portuguese works by Petronius, John Fante, Alfred Jarry, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Yukio Mishima.


in me
I see
the other
and another
finally dozens
trains passing
wagons full of hundreds of people

the other
what's in me is you
and you

just as
I am in you
I am in him
in us
and only when
we are in us
we are at peace
even if we are alone

Translated by Rosaliene Bacchus

Deep Inside

Deep inside, in the deep,
in the deep, inside,
we would like
to see our problems
solved by decree

from this date on,
sorrow with no remedy
might as well be void
and in it - perpetual silence

extinguished by law any remorse,
damned you who look back,
behind there is nothing,
and nothing more

but problems are not solved,
problems have many heirs,
and on Sundays they all go to take a walk
the problem, his lady
and other tiny little problems.

Translated by Ane Montarroyos and Greg Berry


An Arctic poem,
Of course, that is what I want.
A pale practice,
Three verses in ice.
A surface-phrase
Where no life-phrase
Will be possible.
No more phrases. None.
A null lyre,
Reduced to the purest minimum,
A blink of the soul,
The only unique thing.
But I speak. And, in speaking, I cause
Clouds of equivocations
(Or a swarm of monologues?)
Yes, winter, we are alive.

Translated by Lavinia Saad