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Miguel-Manso
(Portugal, 1979)   
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Miguel-Manso

After an aborted degree in communication design and dropping out of a graphic arts program, Miguel-Manso (Portugal, 1979) started writing poetry, fascinated by the work of the Portuguese poet João Miguel Fernandes Jorge. In 2008, he debuted with the self-published Contra a manhã burra (Against the dumb morning). The few critics who managed to get their hands on it wrote enthusiastic reviews, and that very same year a small press published a second collection, which was equally rapturously received. For his next three collections, however, Manso decided again to self-publish. The most recent of these, Um lugar a menos (One less place, 2012), contained not poems, but aphoristic prose. His next collections each appeared with different publishers.

From the start, the poetry of Miguel-Manso – the hyphen between first and last name distinguishes him from the Portuguese photographer of the same name – has consistently surprised with its extraordinary images and idiosyncratic use of language, full of rhythmic and sonic effects, wordplay, ambiguities and archaic words and spellings. His poems also often contain references to other poets. The final stanza of his 'MCMLXXXVI', for instance, quotes from and alludes to António Ramos Rosa's poem 'Adágio', and the fifth stanza of 'Antiworld' quotes '25 de Abril' by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. This dialogue with other poets, thinkers, artists and artworks is foregrounded more in his later work, such as [Annemarie Schwarzenbach] and [Neil Young].

Although 'Stage' states that "the poem is above all else / a stage for simple gestures", this poetry does not stick to simple gestures alone. Manso aims for the sublime and believes in the power and beauty of poetry and language. Even though it is deceptive, he remains "to voice what leans into the infinite" and "to secretly observe the access each thing allows through the fissure of miracle" ('Antiworld). This way, Manso can compare the birth of a poem with the Big Bang and have a balloon rise from a rubbish bin in the same verse. The ironic contrast between cosmic immensity and everyday coincidence may relativize the role of the poet, but it definitely results in splendid poetry.

© Arie Pos (Translated by Florian Duijsens)

Bibliography

Contra a manhã burra Self-published, 2008. [reprint, Mariposa Azual, Lisbon, 2009]
Quando escreve descalça-se. Trama Livraria, Lisbon, 2008.
Santo subito. Self-published, 2010.
Ensinar o caminho ao diabo. Self-published, 2012.
Um lugar a menos. Self-published, 2012.
Aqui podia viver gente. Primeiro Passo, Lisbon, 2012.
Tojo – Poemas escolhidos (Brem – selected poems). Relógio d'Água, Lisbon, 2013.
Supremo 16/70. Artefacto, Lisbon, 2013.
Persianas. Tinta-da-China, Lisbon, 2015.
Rosto, clareira e desmaio. Douda Correria, Lisbon, 2017.
Mortel. Do Lado Esquerdo, Coimbra, 2018

 




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