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Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen
(Portugal, 1919–2004)   
 
 
 
Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen

Some poets make poems the way a builder builds a home – verse by verse, brick by brick. For Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, the whole world was home, and poetry just a matter of seeing and of being. The act of poetry and the act of living were to her inseparable. She defined poetry as “an art of being” that “does not require my time and labour. It does not ask me to have science, or aesthetics or theories. Instead it demands the entireness of my being, a consciousness running deeper than my intellect.”

Born in Oporto in 1919, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen moved to Lisbon to study at the university, and remained in the city. Considered one of Portugal's most important 20th century poets, she was awarded numerous literary prizes and is widely translated. Her poetry, imbued with a rare luminosity and precision, is at once 'profound' and 'superficial', effectively eliminating the distinction between inner and outer.

"Poetry," she explained, "is my understanding with the universe, my way of relating to things, my participation in reality, my encounter with voices and images. That is why the poem speaks not of an ideal life but of a concrete one: the angle of a window, the resonance of streets, cities and rooms, the shade cast by a wall, a sudden face, the stars' silence, distance and brightness, the night's breathing, the scent of the linden and of oregano."

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Bibliography
Poesia [Poetry], 1944; 2013
Dia do Mar [Day of the sea], 1947; 1974
Coral [Choral], 1950; 2013
No tempo dividido [In parted time], 1954; 2013
O Rapaz de Bronze [The brass boy], 1956; 1996
A Fada Oriana [Fairy Oriana], 1958; 2002
A Menina do Mar [The girl from the sea], 1958; 2002
Mar novo [New sea], 1958; 2013
Noite de Natal [Christmas evening], 1960; 2002
O Cristo cigano ou a lenda do Cristo cachorro [The gipsy Christ], 1961; 2003
Contos Exemplares [Extraordinary Tales], 1962; 2002
Livro sexto [The book sixth], 1962; 2014
O Cavaleiro da Dinamarca [The knight from Denmark], 1964; 2001
Os três reis do Oriente [Three kings from the East], 1965; 1980
Geografia [Geography], 1967; 2014
A Floresta [The Forestl], 1968; 2003
Antologia [Anthology], 1968; 1985
Grades [Grids], 1970
11 Poemas [11 Poems], 1971
Dual [Dual], 1972 ; 2004
O nú na Antiguidade Clássica [The Nude in Classical Antiquity], 1975; 1992
O Nome das Coisas [The name of the things], 1977; 2004
O tesouro [The tresor], 1978
Quatre poetes portugais: Camões, Cesário Verde, Mário de Sá-Carneiro, Fernando Pessoa, 1979
A Casa do Mar [The house by the sea], 1980
Poemas escolhidos [Chosen poems], 1981
Navegações [Navigations], 1983; 2004
Histórias da terra e do mar [Tales from the land and the sea], 1984; 2013
Árvore [Tree], 1985; 2002
Ilhas [Islands], 1989; 2004
Obra Poética I [Collected work I], 1990; 2001
Obra Poética II [Collected work II}, 1991
Obra poética III [Collected work III], 1991; 2001
Primeiro Livro de Poesia [The first poetry book], 1991; 2003
Musa [Muse], 1994; 2004
Signo [Sign], 1994
Era uma vez uma Praia Atlântica [Once upon a time there was an atlantic beach], 1997
O Búzio de Cós e outros poemas [Conch from Cós and other poems], 1997; 2004
O Bojador, 2000
Mar [Sea], 2001; 2004
O colar [The necklace], 2001; 2014
Orpheu e Eurydice, 2001
Desnuda y aguda la dulzura de la vida, 2002
O anjo de timor [Timor angle], 2003
Obra poética [Collected work], 2010
Os ciganos [The gipsies], (unpublished tale), 2012

In Chinese
Extraordinary Tales, Macau:  Instituto Cultural de Macau, 1995

In Danish

Ridderen fra Denmark, Copenhagen:  Rhodos Forlaget, 2001

In Dutch
Zeereizen, Leuven: Leuvense Schrijversaktie, 1991

In English
Log book – selected poems, Manchester : Carcanet press, 1997

In French

Méditerranée, Paris : La Différence, 1980
Navigations / Navegações, Paris: La Différence, 1988
Contes Exemplaires, Paris: La Différence, 1988
Histoires de la Terre et de la Mer, Paris: La Différence, 1990

La nudité de la vie, Bordeaux : L'Escampette, 1996

La Fée Oriane, Paris: La Différence, 1999

Le Garçon de Bronze, Paris: La Différence, 1999

La Petite Fille de la Mer, Paris: La Différence, 1999
La Forêt, Paris: La Différence, 2000
Malgré les ruines et la morte, Paris : La Différence, 2000

In German

Poemas – Gedichte, Munique : Langewiessche-Brandt, 2010

In Italian

Il Nome delle Cosa, Roma:  Fogli di Portucale, 1983

Il sole, il muro, il mare, Aquila: Japadre, 1987

Racconti Esemplari, Bari:  Adriatica Editrice, 1993
Navigazioni / Navegações, Bari:  Ellis edizioni, 2011

Come un grido puro, Milan: Crocetti, 2013

In Spanish
Antología poética, Madrid: Huerga y Fierro, 2000

Desnuda y aguda la dulceza de la vida, Buenos Aires: Adriana Hidalgo, 2002

Nocturno mediodía. Antología poética 1944-2001, Barcelona: Galaxia/Circulo de lectores, 2004
Poemas, Caracas: La maja desnuda, 2011

In Swedish
I tingens Namn, Malmö: Aura Latina, 2007

LINKS:
Sophia de Mello Breyner em Biblio Monde
DGLAB The Portuguese Ministry of Culture's General Directorate for Book, Archives and Libraries

 




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