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She also adapted several texts for theater and wrote dialogues for cinema. Regarded as one of the outstanding poets to emerge in Portugal in the early 1960s, she is also the most difficult to apprehend. She was a poet in constant revolt, not only or openly against Salazar’s so-called Estado Novo [New State], or the traditional norms of society, or the subordinate status of women, but against the very way thought and language typically happen and poetry is made. Her poems break the usual laws of reason and of reasonableness. The subject is often unstable, the narrative of what’s happening tends to be fuzzy, there are unexpected shifts in register and point of view, and stanzas or entire poems may feel unresolved.
In Luiza Neto Jorge eroticism permeates the images and the very language of poetry. If the houses of her homonymously titled poem (see “Houses”) are personifications of feminine sexuality, the poetic vocabulary of “The House of the World” is invaded by names of and allusions to body parts; a simple birthmark becomes a world replete with sexualized memories (“erotic cobwebs”) and worlds within worlds (the hallway of the third stanza, or the oval mirror of the fifth). All these houses, like her poems in general, are open spaces, accommodating the world at large.
Something of Surrealism’s free and extravagant associations seems to characterize Jorge’s poetry, which does not depend, however, on automatic or unconscious processes. It seems ultraconscious, hyperreal, but averse to the typical processes of poetic representation. Writing, for this poet, is not an ascension into the lyrical realm but a probe into what is closest to home: minimal things («Magnolia»), the body («Head in an Ambulance»), everyday sights and sounds («Waking up on the Street of the World»). (…)
See excerpt from: Poesia translated from the portuguese by Richard Zenith
Par le feu, translated by Christian Mérer and Nicole Siganos. Nantes: Le Passeur-Cecofop, 1996
Prélude pour sexe et rêve, translated by Marie-Claire Wromans. Brussels, 1994
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