Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Voices of a Nomadic Soul

Aldous Eveleigh drew this image of Fernando Pessoa. It's one among many that were on display last night when Shearsman launched a new edition of Voices of a Nomadic Soul, Zbigniew Kotowicz's excellent book on the poet, first published by the Menard Press in 1996. This book, together with a recently unearthed guide to Lisbon written in English, continues Tony Frazer's project to present the work of Pessoa to an anglophone audience. My first experience of the poet's work came with the publication of Edwin Honig and Susan M Brown's translations in 1986 (or possibly earlier in the Penguin Modern European Poets series). Pessoa is renowned for having created four poets (including 'himself'). Actually he created some seventy authors but these four were the ones who produced sizeable bodies of work (Alvaro de Campos's poems alone run to two volumes in the Shearsman edition). And Lisbon is to Pessoa what Dublin is for Joyce or Berlin and Paris for Walter Benjamin, hence the importance of the tour guide for his readers.

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