So I’ve finally finished a first draft translation of the manifesto with annotations. Some of the translations are not terrible, but others feel off, or just completely wrong. I will post the entire english translation here, and then move towards smoothing it out, locating last remnants of untranslatability (things in brackets are examples) and then, finally, some interpretation. Any comments on the translation would be most welcome.
Poetry exists in the facts. The saffron and ochre shacks on the green hills of the Favela, under the blue [cabralino], are aesthetic facts.
Carnaval in Rio is the religious event of the people. Wood-Brazil. Wagner drowns before the troupes of Botafogo. Barbarian and ours. A rich ethnic formation. Vegetal wealth. The mineral. The kitchen. Vatapa, the gold and the dance.
All the colonial and commercial history of Brazil. The foreign doctor, the foreign references, the foreign known authors. Impressive. Rui Barbosa: a top hat in Senegambia. Everything reverts to wealth. The wealth of balls and made phrases. [Slave traders]. Odaliscas in Catumbi. Difficult speech.
The foreign doctor. Fatality – the first white men arriving and politically dominating the indigenous people. The graduate. We cannot escape from being learned. Doctors. Country of anonymous pains, of anonymous doctors. The Empire was thus. We rationalized everything. We forgot the gavião de penacho.
The non-exportation of poetry. Poetry walks mystically in the malicious vines of knowledge. In the vines of academic desire.
Yet it possesses explosions of understanding. The men who supposedly knew everything strained like balloons. They ruptured.
The return to specialization. Philosophers making philosophy, critics, criticism, women in the kitchen.
Poetry for the poets. Joy of what they do not know and discover.
It possessed the inversion of everything, the invasion of everything : the theatre of thesis and the on-stage fight between the moral and immoral. The thesis shall be resolved by a war with sociologists, men of law, fat and golden like Corpus Juris.
Agile theatre, son of saltimbanco. Attentive and illogical. Agile romance, born of invention. Agile poetry.
Brazilwood poetry. Agile and pure. Like a child.
Blaise Cendrars’s suggestion : – as you leave, observe the flooding locomotive. The eccentric crank diverts the revolvutions so it stays on course. A minor lapse will make you leave in the opposing direction of your destination.
Against [gabinetismo], the cultured experience of life. Engineers instead of lawyers, absent like Chinese in the genealogy of ideas.
Language without archaisms, without erudition. Natural and neological. A million contributions of errors. How we speak. How we are.
It does not fight in the land of academic vocation. It only [wears uniforms]. The futurists and the others.
A single fight – a fight for passage. We are divided: Poetry of importation. And Brazilwood Poetry, of exportation.
It created the phenomenon of aesthetic democratization in the five corners of the world. Naturalism instituted itself. To copy. Pictures of sheep that did not render or equal wool. The interpretation of the unwritten dictionary of the School of Beautiful Arts wanted to reproduce small copies… Then the pirogravura arrived. All the girls at home became artists. Then photography appeared. And with all the attributes of big hair, lice, and the mysterious ingenuity of the inverted eye – the artist-photographer.
In music, the piano invaded the empty parlors, with a calendar on the wall. All girls became pianists. Then the pianola arrived, the piano of legs. The pleyela. And the Slavic irony composed for the pleyela. Stravinsky.
Statuary lagged behind. The processions leave the modern factories.
They did not invent a machine to make verses – they already had the parnassian poet.
However, the revolution cruelly indicated that art return to the elites. And the elites initiated dislocation. Two phases: 1) distortion through impressionism, fragmentation, and voluntary chaos. Cezanne and Mallarme, Rodin and Debussy. 2) lyricism, appearance of the temple, materials, constructive innocence.
The Brazil profiteer. The Brazil doctor. And the coincidence of the first Brazilian constructive movement with general reconstruction. Wood-Brazil Poetry.
In this miraculous time, laws are born of the proper dynamic revolution of destructive factors.
Any natural effort in this direction is good. Brazilwood Poetry.
Work against the naturalistic detail – for the synthesis; against romantic morbidness – for geometric equilibrium and technical perfection; against the copy, for invention and surprise.
A new perspective.
Paolo Ucello created the naturalism of apogee. It was an ethical illusion. The distant objects did not diminish. It was a law of appearance. However, the moment is a reaction to the appearance. A reaction to the copy. To substitute visual and nauralistic perspective for a perspective of another order: sentimental, intellectual, ironic, ingenious.
A new scale:
A proportionate and catalogued world with writing in books, children in laps. The network produces writing greater than towers. And new forms of industry, transportation, aviation. Posts. Locomotives. Technical laboratories and offices. Voices and vibrations of wires and waves and electricity. Stars resembling photographic negatives. The correspondence of physical surprise in art.
The reaction against the invading subject, a difference of function. Part of the thesis is a monstrous arrangement. The romance of ideas, a mixture. The historical painting, an aberration. The eloquent sculpture, a meanigless terror.
Our age announces the return to pure meaning.
A painting is lines and colors. The statues are volumes under the light.
Brazilwood Poetry is a room of [domingueira] dinner, with nestlings singing in the condensed forest of bird cages, a gaunt beggar composing a waltz for flute and Maricota reading the newspaper. She travels and is present everywhere in the periodical.
No formula for the contemporary expression of the world. To see with free eyes.
We have a double and actual foundation – the jungle and the school. Naive and dualist people and the geometry, algebra and chemistry soon after the baby’s bottle and anise tea. A mixture of “a sleeping baby whom the worm takes hold of” and equations.
A vision that struck in the cylinders of the mills, in electric turbines; in production factories, in shifting questions, without losing sight of the National Museum. Brazilwood.
[Obuses] of elevators, cubes of skyscrapers and the wise, lazy sun. The Prayer. Carnaval. Intimate energy. The Shaman. A little sensual, loving hospitality. The longing of shamans and military airstrips. Brazilwood.
The work of the futurist generation is cyclopean. To set the empire’s clock of national literature.
Fulfilling that stage, there is another problem. To be regional and pure in one’s own time.
The state of innocence substitutes the state of grace that can be an attitude of the spirit.
The counterbalance of native originality to disable academic coherence.
The reaction against all indigestible knowledge. The best of our lyric tradition. The best of our modern exhibition.
Brazilians of our time. The necessity of chemistry, mechanics, economics, and ballistics. Everything digested. Without becoming cultured. Practical. Experimental. Poets. Without free memories. Without comparison. Without etymologic research. Without ontology.
Barbaric, credulous, colorful and gentle. Newspaper readers. Brazilwood. The jungle and the school. THe National Museum. The kitchen, the mineral and the dance. The Vegetation. Brazilwood.
OSWALD DE ANDRADE
(Correio da Manhã [Post Office of the Morning], 18 de março de 1924)