By Antonio Botto
Ant?nio Botto was once one in all Portugal's first overtly homosexual writers, a po?te maudit whose unapologetic and candid verses approximately gay lifestyles and fervour have been either praised and reviled after they seemed in Portuguese in 1922 below the name Can??es. Botto's poetic voice-confessional, own, and intimate-revels and luxuriates in eroticism whereas expressing the soreness of longing, silence, and affliction. but for all of his acclaim and notoriety-he used to be either hailed as one of many nice poets of his day and condemned for his frank depictions of male-male desire-Botto and his paintings fell into oblivion after his loss of life. The Songs of Ant?nio Botto recovers this significant, pressing voice in sleek poetry through making available-for the 1st time in view that its deepest book in 1948-the English-language translation of Can??es that Botto's buddy and inventive collaborator, Fernando Pessoa, accomplished in 1933. Pessoa, Portugal's preeminent modernist literary determine, thought of Botto the one Portuguese poet valuable of the label "aesthete" and, as a critic and writer, championed his paintings. that includes an advent to Botto's paintings and Pessoa's formerly unpublished foreword to the 1948 version in addition to a brand new translation of Botto's 1941 elegy to Pessoa, The Songs of Ant?nio Botto establishes Botto as a pioneering determine in sleek homosexual literature and locations him along C. P. Cavafy and Federico Garc?a Lorca as one of many significant poetic voices of the 20th century.
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Extra info for The Songs of Antonio Botto
25 ] 9 I am glad, I really am, That you lied And never came. But I must tell you— Because just telling the truth Is a sort of talk with God— When I opened your last letter I really thought you would come. First I felt at home In the vague unpleasantness That bit me all— A clear bite, a raging bite, Limpid and almost immoral. Then, Carefully, upon my hair I spilt scent, The most sensual I could get; [ 26 ] And the ache of looking lovely Pressed me close and made me fret. From my shoulders Florentine The precious stones Ran Like a river over me, With a cold luminous beauty.
I believe it is. While it is, on the one hand, necessary to acknowledge that alternate forms of sexuality and eroticism, including homosexuality, were common in ﬁn de siècle literature, on the other hand we must also recognize [ xxxiv ] that Botto wrote on the chronological end of this period of European literary history and from within an avowedly “modern” culture. 19 The traversal and representation of several states of physical and emotional experience, the multiplicity of encounters, misunderstandings, and unrequited love or passion with remembered lovers contribute collectively to a poetic, ﬁrst-person subject.
This has made him clear to the general public and dear to the literary one. 1 And it should be noted that, apart from having been Portuguese Ambassador at the Court of St. James and President of the Portuguese Republic, Senhor Manuel Teixeira Gomes is a subtle critic, both of letters and of art, and one of the greatest present-day writers of Portuguese prose. I stress this because, after all, it is, for our immediate case, the real and truer title.  My translation has been made in the most perfect possible conformity, both expressional and rhythmical, with the original text.