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Bakhtiniana: Revista de Estudos do Discurso

On-line version ISSN 2176-4573

Bakhtiniana, Rev. Estud. Discurso vol.14 no.2 São Paulo Apr./June 2019  Epub Apr 15, 2019 


Drummond and Stella: Poetic Experiences

Nathaly Felipe Ferreira Alves*

*Universidade Estadual de Campinas - UNICAMP, Instituto de Estudos da Linguagem, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Teoria e História Literária, Campus Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil;;


The aim of this study is to analyse, in the poem Da bomba [From the Bomb], in Reamanhecer [New Dawn], the second section of Stella Leonardos' poetry book Amanhecência [Dawning] (1974), the relationship between the processes of reading and writing in the metapoetic exercise of appropriation of Carlos Drummond de Andrade's poem A bomba [The Bomb]. This metapoetic rewriting operates through analogical thinking, in which the figure of the critical poet in her relationship with tradition is outlined. With this double movement, based on the displacement of the lyrical subject out of itself, our research hypothesis is that this is a unique book-anthology in which the poet appropriates poems with which she dialogues by means of two procedures: expansion, the generator of a parallel song, and reduction, in which the gloss of the epigraphs is a key resource.

KEYWORDS: Carlos Drummond de Andrade; Stella Leonardos; Intertextuality; Metapoetry


O objetivo deste estudo é examinar, no poema Da bomba que compõe Reamanhecer, segunda parte do livro Amanhecência (1974), de Stella Leonardos, as relações entre leitura/escritura no exercício metapoético de apropriação do poema A bomba, de Carlos Drummond de Andrade. Tal reescritura metapoética opera por meio do pensamento analógico, em que se esboça a figura do poeta crítico em sua relação com a tradição. Neste movimento duplo, fundamentado no deslocamento do sujeito lírico para fora de si, advém a nossa hipótese de pesquisa: a de um singular livro-antologia no qual a poeta se apropria dos poemas com os quais dialoga por meio de dois procedimentos: o de expansão, gerador do canto paralelo, e o de redução, em que a glosa das epígrafes é recurso chave.

PALAVRAS-CHAVE: Carlos Drummond de Andrade; Stella Leonardos; Intertextualidade; Metapoesia

1 (Em)Bodied Critical Poetry: Entwinements

This article consists of a comparative analysis of the poems A bomba [The Bomb], by Carlos Drummond de Andrade, and Da bomba [From the Bomb], a poem from the second section of the poetry collection Amanhecência [Dawning] (1974), by Rio De Janeiro born poet Stella Leonardos.1 Despite being a Brazilian National Book Institute (INL-MEC) award winning book, published by the Insititute in partnership with the José Aguilar Press, there have been very few critical studies of this work.

In Amanhecência [Dawning], the author creates a reading movement, with texts representing Luso-Brazilian literary history from the origins of Portuguese literature, both thematically and formally and with different levels of appropriation, from troubadour lyricism to the modernist voices of Brazilian literature, which appear in the section Reamanhecer [New Dawn].

In this regard, the writer nods towards a possible tendency of a return to verse and its tradition, addressed in the poetic production of the 1970s, when discursive poetry resurfaced after the intense period of experimentation of form that came with the concrete poetry movement. Stella Leonardos's work effectively expands the interrelation between the poetry of her own time with that of the literary past. She does this not only by writing sparse poems, serving to metabolize these practices, but also with the creation of a poetic project developed in this work, a little like a new dawn itself:

While many have attempted the poem-anthology and the montage, the residual sign of other practices and other eras in poetry, Stella Leonardos has produced a book covering everything, a bible, a statement of itself, embodying cultural resonances formed over the course of time and distributed here in different modulations of an identified space: the Brazilian hic et nunc. Amanhecência, as it were, could be read as both poetry and as History of poetry. What the author does is bring into the present the lineage of poetry, from its early days to the contemporary (LUCAS, 1979, p.53).2

Her reading of poetic tradition can be seen in the two sections of the book: Códice Ancestral [Ancestral Codex] and Reamanhecer [New Dawn], which is the object of this study. The first section, as the title suggests, is a dialogue with medieval tradition. It brings the themes and forms of ancestral songs, even appropriating the language in which the texts were written: Galician Portuguese. And the second section, as stated by the poet herself in her preface to the book, is representative of Brazilian poetry in its most varied moments (from the 17th to the 20th century, starting with the reading of the work of Baroque, Arcadian, Romantic, Parnassian, Symbolist and Modernist poets), since:

The first part, Códice Ancestral [Ancestral Codex], ends where Brazil begins. The second part, Reamanhecer [New Dawn], does not end because Brazil is evernew and everlryical. [...] the new dawn comes with a Brazilian lyricism, which wakes us up and the morning is elevated in the poets who opened doors to the perspectives of poetrynow (LEONARDOS, 1974, p.35).3

Whilst Códice Ancestral begins with the portico poem Ancestre Canção [Ancient Song] (LEONARDOS, 1974, p.39) and ends with Navegar é preciso [Sailing is necessary] (LEONARDOS, 1974, p.108), Reamanhecer [New Dawn] opens with a homonymous poem (LEONARDOS, 1974, pp.111-112) and closes with the text Amanhecência [Dawning] (LEONARDOS, 1974, p.176), the title given to the book itself. Stella Leonardos's reading follows the chronology of various periods and styles in literature. As a guiding thread to her reflections, she maintains the constant presence of epigraphs, bringing parts of works with which the poetry in this book dialogues and resignfying them. Stella Leonardos views chronological data as relative, and she synchronizes different literary periods and spaces, in a poetic reading/writing of the tradition from her contemporary viewpoint.

In Reamanhecer [New Dawn], this creates a path always open to new interpretations and also to new poetic experiences. The poet exposes a desire for what is to come, showing both didactically and lyrically in this kind of book-anthology, the journey already travelled by Brazilian poetry, and the paths it may still go down. The section Reamanhecer [New Dawn], has, therefore, a potency in terms of creativity, which is never ending and which flows into the eternal-now, suggested by the suffix -ency of the title open work Amanhecência [Dawning], as shown by Teles (1974), in her description of the poet's preface to the book.

In this sense, Stella Leonardos accompanies the movement of the whole of Brazilian literature in a unique way in Amanhecência [Dawning], especially in the second section entitled Reamanhecer [New Dawn]. But her own time, the moment in which she is a contemporary, is, however, the twentieth century, a period permeated by modernist thought. Although the author was summarized by Alfredo Bosi in his História da Literatura Brasileira [History of Brazilian Literature] (1994), as belonging to a range of caudate poets of the generation of 1945, Stella Leonardos bore witness to all the isms and generations of the many modernisms arising from modernist poetry.

This association with the generation of 45 is perhaps due to a certain extent to the poet's themes, and also to the formal conjecture of her texts, which Bosi (1994) calls an existentialist vein of Brazilian poetry. We should also remember that Leonardos was born just a year after the 1922 Modern Art Week, an event that continues to resonate today. An attentive and voracious reader, Stella Leonardos accompanied the work of the poets of the heroic period, and she began her own poetic production in the 1940s, in her youth. It so happens that the book being studied in this paper is from a more mature phase of Leonardos's work, both in her natural life and in her poetic life. Published in 1974, Amanhecência [Dawning] reveals the contemporaneity of the poet's time and what she both seizes and learns from the tradition to which she pays homage and analyses poetically. Accordingly, the reader of this book will easily notice the way the poet uses alliteration and other resources dear to the symbolists and used again in the neo-symbolism (very didactically speaking) of the second modernist generation, for example.

In terms of the book's content, if the poet's subjectivity can be viewed through the reading of her texts in their exploration of the innermost being, then this intimacy is transmuted in the subjectivity of the Other, revealing, poetically, a presence in the world. In other words, what we suggest is that Stella Leonardos adopts a contemporary trend and that this then flows into poetic otherness. Her voice joins many other voices. And from this fusion, what remains is not merely a sum of parts, like in a mathematical formula. By recuperating the voice of the Other, which is within herself, the writer uses poetic criticism in relation to the lyrical chorus presented to us in each text. The self becomes displaced and is pervaded by the universality of a sole voice, the poetic one, and through this contemporary poetic creation, comes the poet's critical voice.4

The comprehension of the concept of critical poetry is therefore relevant for our outlining of the writing of Stella Leonardos, in the sense that her critical position is fundamental for our understanding of the content of her book-anthology. In Poéticas da lucidez [Poetics of lucidity], Maciel suggests that in critical poetry there is a profound change in terms of the nature of the poetic, and

[...] language - with its mechanisms of construction and deconstruction - became, for a large number of modern poets, the heart of the poetic experience and it came to be understood as a multiple and autonomous universe: poetry was subjected to a process of dereferentialization and assumed the task of talking about itself, thus breaking with the idea of literature as a representation of reality (MACIEL, 1999 p.21).5

Thus, the critical poem would initially be defined as a space of creativity in which the poetic and metalinguistic functions of language are fused. On these lines, according to Maciel (1999, p.23)

[...] the critical poem stands out not only for displaying a materiality as an ingenious product of the poet's lucid conscience, but also for promoting the exploration of its own structure as it is constructed.6

However, Maciel also advises us that despite the autonomy assumed by the poetic text in relation to reality and its power to criticize itself, this does not make the modern poet oblivious to history. On the contrary, in reflecting on its own creative power, this critical awareness itself makes evident certain values and certainties of the world. In this regard, Paul Valéry, a critical poet who declared his master to be Mallarmé, ponders, in The Art of Poetry,

What has happened to the immediately perceptible part of a text, to the sensations that it was written to produce? It will be time enough to deal with the poet's life, love and opinions, his friends and enemies, his birth and death, when we shall have advances sufficiently in the poetic knowledge of his poem, that is, when we shall have made ourselves the instrument of what is written, so that our voice, our intelligence, and all the fibers of our sensibility are banded together to give life and powerful actuality to the author's act of creation (VALÉRY, 2007, p.175).7

In introducing an autogenesis, or by proving itself to be "profundity opened onto the experience that makes it possible" (BLANCHOT, 2003, p.198),8 modern poetry, and especially what we call critical poetry, also organizes a time that is particular to itself. As a synchronizer of diverse essentialities, the critical poet exposes, through poetic writing, his or her reading choices because this poet is, above all, a great reader. Both reiterating and questioning, the poet reexamines a range of writers from his or her own literary arsenal, squeezing out, through the aegis of their own time, a particular history of literature, framed by precursors, who are evoked by the poems.

Furthermore, the critical poet creates a thought system made possible by the freedom of poetic language, far from the "fascist" convention of language noted by Barthes in his Aula [Leçon] (2007). Perhaps it is through this freedom of choice of the poet that a new literary order is established, or a new history of literature based on the space between the dance of reading times and the time of writing by critical poets. In this sense, this literary history is not based on an idea of progression and continuity, but on a concept of synchronization of these times, making them simultaneous, as Perrone-Moisés (1984, p.40) points out:

To read is to attribute meaning, to synchronize, to vitalize, to select and to highlight values. Active reading is constructive because it determines and justifies the course of the future, and it is destructive because it goes beyond existing rules of measurement. A living thing, and therefore risky, the synchronic history of writer-critics constitutes a biased judgment.9

It is from this viewpoint that we are interested in investigating Reamanhecer [New Dawn], in order to understand how the inter-period relationships are generated by the dialogue Stella Leonardos weaves together with modernist poems. Guided by her own state of being-in-the-world, the poet seizes her own time and synchronizes it with the past, in order to establish something else: the always-time of poetry.

2 Dis-in-te-gra-tions or What a Bomb Can Do

We start from the assumption that, in the poem Da bomba [From the Bomb], there is a simultaneous motion of the gloss10 with the parallel song11 of the epigraph, extending this thematically. However, the poem is not an appropriation of the form of the source poem, A bomba [The Bomb], by Carlos Drummond de Andrade. Thus, in this sense, here we get a double movement of thematic expansion and formal reduction in the poem.

The thematic re-dimension of Da bomba [From the Bomb] occurs with a questioning about the hope of poetry in liquidating the bomb, establishing an almost impossible possibility: a world of utopian peace in which man is born as poet. Thus, Stella Leonardos's poem, in the wake of Drummond's poem, recovers an opaque sentiment in contemporary times: poetry as utopian resistance, in a post-utopian moment, which, according to Haroldo de Campos, in his essay Poesia e modernidade: Da morte da arte à constelação. O poema pós-utópico [Poetry and Modernity: From the Death of Art to the Constellation. The Post-utopian Poem] (1997) points to the absence of utopia that has spread through the crisis of ideologies.

Let us look at how the relationship between the poems by Stella Leonardos and Carlos Drummond de Andrade are manifested, by considering some of the most significant extracts from the texts, partially transcribed below:


(I have hope) will liquidate the bomb.




(of the poet) will liquidate the bomb?

Before my violated



lands and beaches




(with hope) will liquidate the poet?

Mineral silence

of a shroud

enveloping spaces

of ex-steps

and ex-voices

- dead gestures,

dead languages,

of how many billions

of bodies

and dis-in-te-grat-ed



(the bomb is liquidated)

I have hope: the poet will be reborn.

(LEONARDOS, 1974, p.167)12


The bomb

is a flower of panic terrifying the floriculturists.

The bomb

is the quintessence of a failed laboratory

The bomb

is misery confederating millions of miseries

The bomb

is stupid is furioussad is full of jelly-roll

The bomb

is grotesque from its dreadfulness and scratches its leg

The bomb

sleeps on Sunday until the bats fly

The bomb

has no price, no lunar, no home

The bomb

promises to behave tomorrow but forgets


The bomb

goes to all of the conferences and sits on all sides

The bomb

is round as in a round table, and square

The bomb

at times misses another with which to cross-breed


The bomb

has 50 megatons of algidity by 85 of ignominy

The bomb

industrialized termites changing them into interplanetary ballistics

The bomb

suffers from a strangulating hernia, amnesia, mononucleosis, verbosity

The bomb

is not serious, is conspicuously tedious

The bomb

poisons children before they begin to be born

The bomb

continues to poison them through the course of life

The bomb

respects powers, spiritual, temporal and otherwise

The bomb

jumps up and down screaming: I am The bomb

The bomb

is a speck in the eye of life and doesn't come out

The bomb

is a tumor in the womb of Spring

The bomb

has use of stereophonic music, one thousand one-eyed jacks, cobalt, iron, as

[well as accomplices

The bomb

has supermarket circus library squadron of missiles, etc.

The bomb

does not permit anyone to wake it unless it's important

The bomb

wants to keep athletes and paralyzed awake nervous and sane

The bomb

kills merely by thinking the other is coming to kill

The bomb

bends languages to its muddled syntax


The bomb

is putrid

The bomb

would like to have remorse to justify itself, but this is denied it

The bomb

asked the devil to baptize it and God to validate the baptism

The bomb

declares itself the scales of justice love-arc archangel of brotherhood

The bomb

has an exclusive club

The bomb

ponders the Nobel Prize with a new-critical eye

The bomb

is russiamericanenglish but enjoys perfume from Paris

The bomb

offers on the tray of pure uranium the title of privilege, atoms of peace

The bomb

will not have work with the visual, sculptural or concrete arts

The bomb

designs ultra-electronic traffic signals to protect the elderly and children

The bomb

does not allow anyone the luxury of dying from cancer

The bomb

is cancer

The bomb

flies to the moon, whistles and returns

The bomb

decreases neutrals and neutrinos and cools itself with the fan of the chain


The bomb

is overindulged with glory of being The bomb

The bomb

does not know when, where and why it's going to explode, but can taste the

[ineffable instant

The bomb



The bomb

will not destroy life


(I have hope) will liquidate the bomb

(ANDRADE, 2015, pp.355-359).13

The epigraph of the poem Da bomba [From the Bomb] is the final lines of A bomba [The Bomb], a poem from the book Lição de coisas [Lesson of Things] (1962). According to Campos (2006, p, 50), in his essay Drummond, Master of Things, the book Lição de coisas:

[...] is a book that brings a complete shift, using a plethora of resources and experiences, in the problematics of Brazilian (and / or international) poetry of the avant-garde, into which many poets, such as Manuel Bandeira, Cassiano Ricardo, Edgar Braga, have placed themselves, to greater and lesser degrees of radicalism, and both episodically or definitively. We refer here specifically to questions raised by the concrete poetry movement and demands for a new poetic language apt to reflect contemporary civilization, - demands to which Carlos Drummond de Andrade, alongside the comfortable omission of many, knew how to deal with and replicate in terms of high and very personal creative work.14

On reflecting on contemporary civilization, as suggested by Haroldo de Campos, Carlos Drummond de Andrade creates the poetic bomb with which Stella Leonardos would go on to dialogue, picking out specifically the opening verses of Drummond's poem, evoking, in the midst of so many disasters, a thread of hope and rebirth. If we consider the relationship between the epigraph and the poem, we can observe that the gloss does not imply a thematic reduction of the source poem, but rather a diverse articulation in the semantic realm, which takes in new qualifiers and additions. It is not mere chance that the hope from the glossed lines goes from assertive to questioning, leaving uncertainty exposed and opening the way for new discoveries, as is seen further on.

However, for this very reason, the gloss created in the poem Da bomba [From the Bomb], despite thematically expanding the source poem, circumscribes itself only to its semantic content. Thus, Stella Leonardos does not take into consideration the formal meaning of Drummond's text. And in her new composition, she does not place value on the way the bombastic effect of Drummond's poem resides in the form and how, through this form, the bomb explodes in the body of the poem itself.

The substitution of the term "man" for "poet" indicates the path Da bomba [From the Bomb] will take. A path in which the focus is on the poetic universe itself, in a positon of defense of poetry, and which suggests a mode of resistance to the problems of the world as it is bombarded by innumerous catastrophes with their immeasurable dimensions for humanity. If, in Drummond's A bomba [The Bomb], all kinds of semantic associations can be linked to the vanity and vile nature of the human spirit, in which the mortal object seems to be personified, and pulverizing, so to speak, what can be understood as being human, then in the poem Da bomba [From the Bomb], Stella Leonardos redeems, in the figure of the poet, the hope that she shares with Drummond and that she so ardently yearned for.

By the time he published Lição de coisas [Lesson of Things] (1962), Drummond had already meditated poetically, both in A Rosa do povo (1945), and Sentimento do mundo (1940), on the awful face of World War II. With the end of the conflict, a shadow of fear had taken hold of the world, due to the rivalry between the blocs of socialist and capitalist countries, embodied by the Soviet Union and the United States of America.

The new war, now known as the cold war, continued constantly evoking the ghost of the atomic bomb, because of the arms race unleashed by the nations involved in this dispute of political and economic interests. As a skilled observer, the poet exposes this being that becomes an object, and, because he does not know how to de-automate, he arms himself. Through the pressing of a simple button, he is able to explode and take with him all the remnants of humanity that might remain: he becomes a bomb and explodes.

Thus, Drummond's bomb - with the word repeated 54 times in the text - ends up materializing through reiteration, and becomes more than a symbol: it is a word-thing that does not talk about, but rather carries out the bombardment itself, and strikes the reader. Repeating the word bomb so many times is also a way to make it explode in the poem, through the intensive work of "linguistic concretion" (CAMPOS, 2006, p.50),15 as well as the sound memory that this procedure causes in the reader.

Drummond's bomb explodes. Its trail of destruction penetrates every being, assuming a prominent place in the poem, not only due to the continuous repetition, but also because grammatically, this term is an agent-subject of many of the actions described in the poem. The bomb, however, is a stupid or "confused" being (line 114), as the poet himself suggests. As it does not think, this being-in-a-bomb cannot therefore exist and can also not put an end to humanity. Thus, the bomb "will not destroy life" (line 116), giving space for the poet's hope.

In contrast, Stella Leonardos's bomb becomes a complement to the verbs, and the agent-subjects become "HOPE" (line 1, verse 1) and "Man" (line 1 of verses 2 and 3), always followed by decasyllable lines, out of which come the "reply-reflections" formulated in the poem. Thus, the image of the bomb is constructed in the following question-scenes: "HOPE/ (of the poet) will liquidate the bomb?" (verse 1), "Man/ (with hope) will liquidate the poet?" (verse 2), just as in the scene-reply "Man/ (the bomb is liquidated) / I have hope: the poet will be reborn" (verse 3). In the first two of these, what stands out is the questioning made based on Drummond's line - the end-beginning of this new poem-bomb. The poet/man's confrontation brings a dramatic question to the poem and to the poet in relation to her capacity to interfere with the reality of a disintegrating world.

This doubt-anguish is enacted fluidly throughout the stanzas of Da bomba [From the Bomb], fading through the short lines, composed of enjambments, simulating a kind of pause in the reasoning of the self being examined. Furthermore, these short lines are responsible for the fragmented view that the lyrical subject has of the world plagued by the bomb. In the first stanza, we read: "Before my violated/ eyes/ strange/ lands and beaches/ unfold./ There, there is neither green/ nor seagulls." In this first scene-stanza, the lyrical subject inquires as to whether the poet's hope is capable of deactivating the bomb. The poem responds with the lines that negate the reply.

In the second stanza, there is an imagistic perpetuation of the destruction that the bomb causes in the world, concretized by the dismemberment of words and generating a rich sense of rhythm: "Mineral silence/ of a shroud/ enveloping spaces/ of ex-steps/ and ex-voices/ - dead gestures, dead languages, of how many billions/ of bodies/ and dis-in-te-gra-ted/ dreams?" (our emphasis).

This second scene embodies a hypothetical question: what if the man who is now invested with hope (here, we can also observe the shift of hope hinted at in the first scene/stanza) liquidates the poet? What emerges is the catastrophic reply of a dystopic view, of an un-poetry, a non-language, of a non-man, dehumanized. This being, who conceals his desire for destruction (note also the parenthesis in line 11), is the non-man, or the representation of the worst actions ever promoted by mankind. Far from the image of the poet, this being, like Drummond's bomb, cannot exist. Its destructive power merely deconstructs what the singularity of the poet is able to conceive.

If the poet's weapon is his song of hope, the unwary man of Stella Leonardos's text faces the silence of death as a threat. The bomb device is thus perversely averse to the exposure of language and voice, and therefore opposes life, which is represented by poetry and by the poet's act of writing.

And in the final stanza, we get a possibility of an answer to the enigma, which is also a challenge. If, in the poem A bomba [The Bomb], Drummond reserves his hope in sections in parenthesis "(I have hope)," then in Da Bomba [From the Bomb], Stella Leonardos suggests, also in parenthesis, that hope can only exist if the bomb ceases to exist: "Man/ (the bomb is liquidated)/ I have hope: the poet will be reborn."

In the third scene, the statement replaces the questioning with a hypothetical reply: "Man/ [if] (the bomb is liquidated) [by whom?] /I have hope: the poet will be reborn." Signaling, then, the loss of man within man, the bomb disintegrates the world, including the text. Once "dis-in-te-grat-ed," all that is left for both man and language is re-composition, via the utopian paths of poetry. In the midst of the crisis underlying it, a new being-in-language may (re)emerge, liquidating that which has deconstructed its world, in order to project another, in a preview of the future, seemingly obliterated by the dystopian hardship of a time when the bomb prevailed.

Here, the thematic expansion of the poem Da bomba [From the Bomb], in relation to Drummond's poem, is established: the liquidation of the bomb is not a task for any man, but for the man-poet constructed by the hope-principal that comes from the utopian vision of poetry. By highlighting the figure of the poet, observing his ability to transform the world with his poetry, or to create possible worlds in which utopia is able to resist, Da bomba [From the Bomb] also recovers, in an intratextual dialogue, the poem Da poesia e do poeta Cassiano Ricardo [Of the Poetry and the Poet Cassiano Ricardo] (LEONARDOS, 1974, p.162).

Unlike in Da bomba [From the Bomb], in this other poem, Stella Leonardos sticks to the form of the original text - taken from the book Jeremias sem-chorar [Jeremias without Crying] (1964), by Cassiano Ricardo - without the need to introduce excerpts from the source-poem in an epigraph. From the title, linked to the formal appreciation of the poem, a reader poetically familiar with the modernist poets, and particularly with the work of Cassiano Ricardo, will be able to see the context. However, if the process differs in relation to the formal sphere of the texts, given that Da bomba [From the Bomb] does not follow the structure of its source text, in the poem Da poesia e do poeta Cassiano Ricardo [Of the Poetry and the Poet Cassiano Ricardo], Stella Leonardos also develops, via thematic expansion of the original poem, the importance of the poet, in a reevaluation of the strength possessed by the man-poet: "I/ WHAT IS POETRY?/ wonderfilled-isle / - discoveries -/ of words/ across all/ the pages// II/ What is the poet?/ a man/ who plows his genius/ with more than the sweat on his face. /A man/ who is stronger/ than any other man." (our emphasis).16 The task therefore falls to this man-poet, insinuated in both the poems, to carry out the utopian recreation of a new world.

Thus, in the new world created in Da bomba [From the Bomb], man can be reborn as a poet, transforming his relationships, ultimately resisting everything that makes him impotent. His struggle, even with the word, becomes his new vision of the world. Thus, it is now the self-poem that is endowed with hope, displaced from the poet, as a general category, and from the man, to launch a new hypothesis: only when the day comes, when there is no more war and destruction, will man be born as a poet, as a sign of life and creation, in a utopian world. Poetry alone is not enough to fight against extermination; art does not have this direct link with reality, but it can have hope to construct a new subject, a man-poet. It is not by chance that hope, which appears between parenthesis in Drummond's poem, instigates, through the poet's form, with him also being kept inside the parenthesis, as though these signs function like a kind of Pandora's box.

The explosive and materializing sound of the bomb, exhaustively repeated in Drummond's poem, a sonic phantom of the macabre presence of death, of the automated non-man, gives way, in Stella Leonardos's text, to a thematic expansion with respect to the utopian destiny of the poet in renewing lost hopes. If in the first stanza there was a tone of doubt in relation to the power of poetry in the midst of the crisis, then this doubt is lessened by the statement that man "will be reborn a poet" (line 25), condensing poetry's sense of resistance as hope of renewal.


From the analysis of Da bomba [From the Bomb], the poem taken in this study as a nuclear and illustrative part of the corpus of Reamanhecer [New Dawn], we observe that Stella Leonardos seems more preoccupied in weaving a linked textual influx, even though it comes from diffused poetic discourses, in designing a diachronic-synchronic path across the Brazilian literary history embodied in her poems.

It is a cohesive construction, underlying a unique poetic project: that of gathering together a legacy of poems form the history of Brazilian literature, from canonic names to those considered as minor poets, in order to trace a new path over this lineage. The work pervades through the midst of the books of these poets, selects certain poems, takes fragments from them, and displaces them to another poetic context- that of Reamanhecer [New Dawn] - infusing them with new dynamism now, in their place within another body-poem.

From this perception, we believe that the aesthetic project envisioned in Reamanhecer [New Dawn] actually supports a poetical-critical viewpoint, in the sense that it uses poetic language as the axis for a work concerned with reading, writing, and critical reflection about poetry. Furthermore, due to the nature of the dialogue of the poems in Reamanhecer [New Dawn], we also have the suggestion of the formation of a synchronic history of Brazilian literature, which is sustained by the creative impulse generated precisely by the language of the poem.

In creating her book-anthology, Stella Leonardos makes uses both the principles of diachrony throughout different literary moments, and also synchrony. The poems are selected either because of their aesthetic value or for motives of homage placed on them by the poet, in the light of the metapoetic exercises integral to a work that re-dawns.

Thus, when we consider the analysis of the corpus, we observe that the poet uses the diachronic-synchronic curve in which her poems are constructed in a movement that starts in the present and moves to the past and vice-versa, in an unceasing exercise of re-reading and re-writing. The poems in Reamanhecer [New Dawn] are able to bring different spatio-temporal dimensions into the contemporary sphere, becoming what Campos (1969, p.207) considers to be synchronic poetics, given that:

Roman Jakobson provides support for the development of this concept, when he writes: "The synchronic description envisages not only the literary production of any given stage but also that part of the literary tradition which for the stage in question has remained vital or has been revived. Thus, for instance, Shakespeare on the one hand and Donne, Marvell, Keats, and Emily Dickinson on the other are experienced by the present English poetic world, whereas the works of James Thomson e Longfellow, for the time being, do not belong to viable artistic values. The selection of classics and their reinterpretation by a novel trend is a substantial problem of synchronic literary studies."17

Stella Leonardos establishes an intertextual dialogue, both with poets already crystalized by the modernist tradition and with contemporaries of her own time of writing, often seen as minor in literary history, as, in fact, is also her own case. Reamanhecer [New Dawn] is composed, then, as a complex network of crossroads between poems and poets, both singing their praises in homage, which ends up reducing their power of expression and desacralizing them by appropriating their work, taking extracts and altering them. And precisely for this reason, for this disrespectful act - reading as the act of lifting the head, turning away, digressing, dispersing, according to Barthes (1989, p.30)18 -, it inflates a new life into them.

This act of reconfiguring the source poems, between the respectful homage and the opposite of that, carries with itself, however, the same impulse of desire to move from reading to writing, as suggested by Barthes (1989, p.40), since "reading is the conductor of the Desire to write [...]."19

This displacement of the subject, from reading to writing and vice-versa, suggests the fact of Reamanhecer [New Dawn] being-not-being by Stella Leonardos, as the authorship should be shared with all those poets and poems she has appropriated, in a reclaiming of the lyrical subject outside of the self as in Collot (2004), which reverberates in The death of the author, when Barthes says that:

We know that a text consists not of a line of words, releasing a single "theological" meaning (the "message" of the Author-God), but of a multi-dimensional space in which are married and contested several writings, none of which is original: the text is a fabric of quotations, resulting from a thousand sources of culture (BARTHES, 1989, pp.52-53).20

The leap launching the poet into the state of being outside herself, is, then, the guiding axis of Stella Leonardos's poetic writing, because it is from her dive into her reading of the source poems that the writer gathers the poetic material with which she will then dialogue. By doing this, Leonardos exerts, through this metapoetic exercise, her particular critical appreciation, or the set of re-readings that are then reflected in the anthology she goes on to write.

In this sense, Reamanhecer [New Dawn] opens itself up to a significant critical dimension by bringing to the forefront the aesthetic project that underlies its structure: that of a book-anthology, engendered by the metapoetic exercise of a poet-reader and critic, simultaneously. The singularity of Reamanhecer [New Dawn], as an anthology, comes about based on the laboratory of poetic creation itself triggered in the texts: poems generated from poems, in an interactive circuit between times synchronized in the poetic space of the book from the point of the metapoetic tone, which determines constant reading-writing, giving every reader the opportunity to write their reading.

Reamanhecer [New Dawn], and the book of which it is a part, Amanhecência [Dawning], brings the creation of a new criticism of poetry, founded in the very laboratory of poetic creation proposed within the work itself, which teaches (per)versely, or, through the verses themselves, ways of thinking about and creating poetry. Furthermore, this book-anthology gives its readers a poetic initiation in the sense that, like the poems and the poet herself, the readers also become ragmen, as they collect the poetic scraps scattered and reorganized by the gesture of the reading-writing of Stella Leonardos.

1Stella Leonardos da Silva Lima Cabassa was born in Rio de Janeiro on August 01, 1923. She published her first book of poetry, Passos na Areia, in 1941, the beginning of extensive literary publications oscillating between poetic texts, translations of works of Catalan, Spanish, French, English and Italian, as well as children's literature and literary criticism. Spíndola (2010, p.25) states in her article Stella Leonardos, The Planetary Poet, that "her work amounts to more than two hundred and thirty works, some of them being series, covering Theatre, Literature, rhapsodies and songbooks." We cite here a selection of Stella Leonardos' books in genres other than poetry. Novels: Estátua de sal (1961) and Dias pássaros (1990). Theatre: Flama sagrada (1956) and Teatro para as crianças (1962 and 1967). Translations: Antologias de poesia catalã contemporânea (1969) and O sortilégio da mariposa (1975), by Frederico García Lorca. Children's Literature: in the 1960s and 1970s, Stella Leonardos published over 50 titles, in which one can perceive the author's concern to bring themes concerning Brazilian culture and the culture of the West, carefully organized into poetic texts, narratives and theatre (the best way for the author to develop her work in children's literature). We cite O gatinho da caixa (1970). In her addition to her literary production, Stella Leonardos was also a regular contributor to Jornal de Letras (Rio de Janeiro), in the 1970s and 1980s, and she also wrote for literary magazines such as RenovArte (UBE). The author can also be noted as a promoter and critic of the work of many poets among her contemporaries, such as Lupe Cotrim Garaude and Olga Salvary, with whom she exchanged notes on reading, via letter. Quotation in original: "de sua lavra são mais de duzentas e trinta obras, algumas em série, seja Teatro, seja Literatura, sejam rapsódias ou cancionários."

2TN. All English translations of quotations from books that have not been published in English are mine. Original text: "No momento em que muitos tentam o poema-antologia, a montagem, o signo residual de outras práticas e de outras eras poéticas, Stella Leonardos produz um livro que é suma, bíblia, um dizer de si que incorpora ressonâncias culturais que se formaram ao longo do tempo e se distribuem em modulações diferentes num espaço identificado: o hic et nunc brasileiro. Amanhecência, por assim dizer, pode ser lido como poesia e como História da poesia. O que a Autora faz é momentaneizar a herança, desde os primórdios até a contemporaneidade."

3Original text: "A primeira parte, Códice Ancestral, acaba onde o Brasil começa. A segunda, Reamanhecer, não acaba porque o Brasil é semprenovo e semprelírico. [...] amanhecemos num lirismo de Brasil que acorda e é manhã alta nos poetas que abriram portas às perspectivas do hojeverso."

4The issue of critical poetry is a vast subject and, as we know, it goes back to what we might call the "germ of modernity": German Romanticism. Its cultivation was explored by modern poets, remembered for example by the iconic figures of Charles Baudelaire, Paul Valéry and T.S. Eliot. We argue, however, that in contemporary times, the legacy of critical poetry is still present through the voice of some poets who have explored or defended it, more incisively, as we perceive in the poetics of Octavio Paz and Haroldo de Campos. Thus, the boundaries between criticism and poetry collapse and promote the redimensioning of a new sense of world. Moreover, if in the "classical period, as Octavio Paz says, criticism had as its goal to arrive at truth, in the modern era the truth becomes critical, even critical of itself" (MACIEL, 1999, p.21). Quotation in original: "período clássico, como diz Octavio Paz, a crítica tinha como fim chegar à verdade, na era moderna a verdade passa a ser crítica, crítica inclusive de si mesma."

5Original text: "[...] a linguagem - com seus mecanismos de construção e desconstrução - converteu-se, para grande parte dos poetas modernos, no cerne da experiência poética e passou a ser compreendida enquanto universo múltiplo e autônomo: a poesia foi submetida a um processo de desreferencialização e assumiu a tarefa de se autodizer, rompendo, assim, com a ideia de literatura como representação da realidade."

6Original text: "[...] o poema-crítico distingue-se não só por exibir sua materialidade enquanto produto engenhoso da consciência lúcida do poeta, como também por promover a sondagem de sua própria arquitetura à medida que vai se construindo."

7VALÉRY, P. The Art of Poetry. Translated by Denise Folliot. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985.

8BLANCHOT, M. The Book to Come. Translated by Charlotte Mandell. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.

9Original text: "Ler é dar sentido, sincronizar, vivificar, escolher e apontar valores. A leitura ativa é construtiva, porque ela determina e justifica os rumos do futuro, e é destrutiva, porque ultrapassa as regras de medida vigentes. Viva, e por isso arriscada, a história sincrônica dos escritores-críticos é um julgamento interessado."

10For the analysis of the poem Da bomba [From the Bomb], from Reamanhecer [New Dawn], we have chosen to recall the sense of the glosses used in medieval songs in which there was commonly a "motto" (motif / subject) to be glossed, i.e, commented on, explored and amplified in the poems. Depending on the type of poetic composition, the gloss was used in observance of the number of motto stanzas, and could be extended to two or three glossed verses, generally in larger rounds, in the cantigas, according to Lopes & Saraiva (1989). This process was very common during the Middle Ages, with the main features being improvisation (an aspect also seen in the glosses - in this case being specific types of poems - created by singers today in the Brazilian northeast). Even during the Baroque period, glosses were cultivated and functioned as an exercise in the poets' rhetoric. Forgotten by the romantics, they were reincorporated in contemporary times, mainly in the work of popular poets. In the poetry of Stella Leonardos, glosses are linked essentially to the development of epigraphs taken from source poems with which her compositions work in dialogue.

11The parallel song is suggested here not only as parody in the most popular sense of the term, in which a jocular and / or critical tone, as rhetorical strategies, are hallmarks, in order to promote a subversion of meanings. What we propose is that Leonard's poems are, in fact, unique poetic compositions that go alongside others - their source poems - in order to empower and / or relativize their creative possibilities. Thus, the tone of the "para-odes," "of the Greek suffix para, 'next to', as in parody, and 'parallel song'" (CAMPOS, 2006, p.35) carried out by Stella Leonardos, through a pendular movement - in which the past is remembered, while continuing to focus on the present - directs the poet's critical discourse to a critical exercise in reading and, at the same time, a poetic (re) writing of the modernist literary tradition. In the form of parallel song, therefore, Stella Leonardos's poems are close to the sense of recreation - creation parallel to the original, but autonomous - as professed by Campos (2006, pp.35-36), or creative translation that dialogues with the idea of translation proposed by the poet E. Pound (in his argument linking translation to creation of the basis of literature itself - in his case English literature -, to literary criticism, or to the teaching of literature, in a process of appreciation and revision of the past, through the critical-artistic work of make it new). In this way, "parallel song" does not detract in any way the poems appropriated by Stella Leonardos, since, according to Waugh (2001, p.66) "[...] parody of a literary norm modifies the relation between literary convention and cultural historical norms, causing a shift in the whole system of relations." In this sense, the parallel procedure created by Leonardos exposes an analogical plane of poetic creation, in which dialogical relations join together with the source poem. Quotation in original: "do sufixo grego pará, 'ao lado de', como em paródia, 'canto paralelo.'"

12Original text: "O homem/(tenho esperança) liquidará a bomba./CARLOS DRUMMOND DE ANDRADE. // DA BOMBA / A ESPERANÇA / (do poeta) liquidará a bomba? / Ante meus olhos / violentados / estranhas / terras e praias / se desdobram. / [...] / O homem /(tendo esperança) liquidará o poeta? / Silêncio mineral / de mortalha / envolvendo espaços / de ex-passos / e ex-vozes / — gestos mortos, / línguas mortas,/ de quantos bilhões/ de corpos/ e sonhos/ des-in-te-gra-dos?/ O homem / (liquidada a bomba) / tenho esperança: renascerá poeta."

13Translation by Jennifer Sarah Frota in SIBILA: Revista de poesia e crítica literária. Ano 18 - ISSN 1806-289X. Original text: "A bomba//A bomba / é uma flor de pânico apavorando os floricultores / A bomba / é o produto quintessente de um laboratório falido / A bomba / é estúpida é ferotriste é cheia de rocamboles/ A bomba / é grotesca de tão metuenda e coça a perna / A bomba / dorme no domingo até que os morcegos esvoacem / A bomba / não tem preço não tem lugar não tem domicílio / A bomba / amanhã promete ser melhorzinha, mas esquece / [...] / A bomba / vai a todas as conferências e senta-se de todos os lados / A bomba / é redonda que nem mesa redonda, e quadrada / A bomba / tem horas que sente falta de outra para cruzar / [...] / A bomba / tem 50 megatons de algidez por 85 de ignomínia / A bomba / industrializou as térmites convertendo-as em balísticos interplanetários / A bomba / sofre de hérnia estranguladora, de amnésia, de mononucleose, de verborreia / A bomba / não é séria, é conspicuamente tediosa / A bomba / envenena as crianças antes que comece a nascer / A bomba / continua a envenená-las no curso da vida/ A bomba / respeita os poderes espirituais, os temporais e os tais / A bomba / pula de um lado para outro gritando: eu sou a bomba / A bomba / é um cisco no olho da vida, e não sai /A bomba / é uma inflamação no ventre da primavera /A bomba/ tem a seu serviço música estereofônica e mil valetes de ouro, cobalto e ferro além da comparsaria / A bomba / tem supermercado circo biblioteca esquadrilha de mísseis, etc. / A bomba / não admite que ninguém acorde sem motivo grave /A bomba / quer é manter acordados nervosos e sãos, atletas e paralíticos / A bomba / mata só de pensarem que vem aí para matar / A bomba / dobra todas as línguas à sua turva sintaxe / [...] / A bomba / é podre /A bomba / gostaria de ter remorso para justificar-se mas isso lhe é vedado / A bomba / pediu ao Diabo que a batizasse e a Deus que lhe validasse o batismo / A bomba / declare-se balança de justiça arca de amor arcanjo de fraternidade / A bomba / tem um clube fechadíssimo / A bomba / pondera com olho neocrítico o Prêmio Nobel / A bomba / é russamenricanenglish mas agradam-lhe eflúvios de Paris / A bomba / oferece de bandeja de urânio puro, a título de bonificação, átomos de paz / A bomba / não terá trabalho com as artes visuais, concretas ou tachistas / A bomba / desenha sinais de trânsito ultraeletrônicos para proteger velhos e criancinhas / A bomba / não admite que ninguém se dê ao luxo de morrer de câncer / A bomba / é câncer / A bomba / vai à Lua, assovia e volta / A bomba / reduz neutros e neutrinos, e abana-se com o leque da reação em cadeia / A bomba / está abusando da glória de ser bomba / A bomba / não sabe quando, onde e porque vai explodir, mas preliba o instante inefável / A bomba / fede / [...] / A bomba / não destruirá a vida / O homem / (tenho esperança) liquidará a bomba." (ANDRADE, 2015, pp.355-359).

14Original text: "[...] é um livro que se desloca em cheio, e com alarde de recursos e experiências, na problemática da poesia brasileira (e/ou internacional) de vanguarda, perante a qual já se situaram, cada um por seu turno, com menor ou maior radicalidade, episódica ou definitivamente, poetas como Manuel Bandeira, Cassiano Ricardo, Edgar Braga. Referimo-nos especificadamente às questões levantadas pelo movimento de poesia concreta e às demandas em prol de uma nova linguagem poética apta a refletir a civilização contemporânea, às quais CDA, sobre omissão cômoda de muitos, soube enfrentar e replicar em termos de alta e personalíssima criação."

15Original text: "concreção linguística."

16Original text: "I/ QUE É A POESIA?/ mar av(e) ilha/ - achados -/ de palavras/ por todas/ as páginas// II/ Que é o Poeta?/ um homem/ que lavra seu gênio/ com mais que suor no rosto. / Um homem/ que tem força/ mais do que qualquer outro homem."

17The English translation of the Roman Jakobson citation within the text is from: WOOD, N.; LODGE, D. Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader. New York, NY: Routledge, 2008. Original text of citation in CAMPOS: "Roman Jakobson fornece os subsídios para a elaboração desse conceito, quando escreve."

18BARTHES, R. Writing Reading. In: BARTHES, R. The Rustle of Language. Translated by Richard Howard. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 1989, pp.29-32.

19English translation by Richard Howard in: BARTHES, R. On Reading. In: BARTHES, R. The Rustle of Language. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 1989, pp.33-43

20English translation by Richard Howard in: BARTHES, R. The Death of the Author. In: BARTHES, R. The Rustle of Language. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 1989, pp.49-55.


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Received: July 07, 2018; Accepted: February 06, 2019

Translated by Sarah Rebecca Kersley -

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