Uma sugestão de Blaise Cendrars : – Tendes as locomotivas cheias, ides partir. Um negro gira a manivela do desvio rotativo em que estais. O menor descuido vos fará partir na direção oposta ao vosso destino.
(Blaise Cendrars’s suggestion : – observe the flooding locomotive, when you leave. A crazy black handle diverts the rotating
line to stay. A minor lapse will make you leave in the opposing direction of your destination.)
[During this time period, the state of São Paulo was at the forefront of Brazil’s economic, political, and cultural life. Known colloquially as “locomotive pulling the 20 empty boxcars” (a reference to the 20 other states) and still today Brazil’s industrial and commercial center, São Paulo led this trend toward industrialization due to the foreign revenues flowing into the coffee industry.]
[Blaise Cendrars: born Frédéric Louis Sauser (1887 – 1961) in Switzerland, moved to Paris (involved with the parisian avant-garde – particularly Apolinaire – and spent many years travelling.
Cendrars’s first contacts with Brazil occurred in 1923, through his friend Fernand Léger, Cendrars met the Brazilian painter Tarsila do Amaral, who was in Paris studying with the French cubist constructivists accompanied by her lover, Oswaldo de Andrade, they became friends and hosted dinner parties in do Amaral’s studio where guests included both the major French modernists of the day and the rising generation of Brazilian writers, composers, and artists (Sergio Milliet, Anita Malfatti, Vicente do Rego Monteiro, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Victor Brecheret).
According to some sources it was through Oswaldo de Andrade that Cendrars made his first contact with Paolo Prado, the grand mécène of Brazilian modernism. Prado, who had studied literature in Paris prior to World War I, met regularly with Cendrars to discuss modernism and Brazilian culture at the Librairie Chadenat, a bookstore specializing in the history of the Americas located on the Quai des Grands Augustins.
Cendrars visited Brazil a few months later after securing assignments as a journalist from two French newspapers. After his arrival in Rio on 5 February 1924, Cendrars spent the next six months living with the Prados in São Paulo, traveling through the interior with groups of Brazilian painters and writers, and basking in the sun at his new acquaintances’ coffee plantations or fazendas.
Cendrars gave a lecture in 1924 (the same year as this manifesto, called “Modern Poets in The Totality of Contemporary Life” – i have not yet located this essay, but will post it when i do. Also, Cendrars wrote a poem called “The Metaphysics of Coffee” in 1927, which i hope to also post when i find it.]
Contra o gabinetismo, a prática culta da vida. Engenheiros em vez de jurisconsultos, perdidos como chineses na genealogia das idéias.
(Against gabinetismo, the cultured experience of life. Engineers instead of lawyers, absent like Chinese in the genealogy of ideas.)
[gabinetismo: ? – must be like bourgouesie…]
[Engineers: Perhaps refers to the valorization of industrialism in Brazil (and around the world) at this time.
Long before the first revolts of the urban middle classes to seize power from the coffee oligarchs in the 1920s, however, Brazil’s intelligentsia, influenced by the tenets of European positivism, along with farsighted agro-capitalists, dreamt of forging a modern, industrialized society—the “world power of the future”. This sentiment would later be nurtured throughout the Vargas years and under successive populist governments before the 1964 military junta repudiated Brazilian populism. Although such lofty visionaries were somewhat ineffectual under the Old Republic (1889-1930), the structural changes in the Brazilian economy opened up by the Great War would strengthen these demands.
The outbreak of World War I was the turning point for the dynamic urban sectors. Temporarily abating Britain’s overseas economic connections with Brazil, the war was an impetus for domestic manufacturing. In time, these structural shifts helped to increase the ranks of the new urban middle classes. Meanwhile, the Brazil’s manufactures and those employed by them enjoyed these gains at the expense of the agrarian oligarchies. World demand for coffee, a nonessential though habit-forming product declined sharply. Sixteen years later, world coffee demand would plunge even more precipitously with the Great Depression. Valorization, government intervention to maintain coffee prices by withholding stocks from the market or restricting plantings, would then prove unsustainable. By World War I, the reinstatement of government price supports would just foreshadow the vulnerability of Brazil’s coffee oligarchy to the Great Depression.
Paradoxically, economic crisis spurred industrialization. The depressed coffee sector freed up the capital and labor needed for manufacturing finished goods. The state of São Paulo, with its relatively large capital-base, large immigrant population from Southern and Eastern Europe, and wealth of natural resources, led the trend, eclipsing Rio de Janeiro as center of Brazilian industry . Industrial production, though concentrated in light industry (food processing, small shops, and textiles) doubled during the war, and the number of enterprises (which stood at about 3,000 in 1908) grew by 5,940 between 1915 and 1918]
A língua sem arcaísmos, sem erudição. Natural e neológica. A contribuição milionária de todos os erros. Como falamos. Como somos.
(Language without archaisms, without erudition. Natural and neological. A millionaire’s contribution of all errors. How we speak. How we are.)
Não há luta na terra de vocações acadêmicas. Há só fardas. Os futuristas e os outros.
(It does not fight in the land of academic vocation. It only has uniforms. The futurists and the others.)
[fardas: might also be costume?]
Uma única luta – a luta pelo caminho. Dividamos: Poesia de importação. E a Poesia Pau-Brasil, de exportação.
(A single fight – a fight for passage. We are divided: Poetry of importation. And Wood-Brazil Poetry, of exportation.)