Blood of the Sun
In Blood of the Sun, Salgado Maranhão—one of the most celebrated poets in Brazil today—weds the powerfully socio-political to the metaphysical.
Masterfully translated by Alexis Levitin and presented in both Portuguese and English, this collection plunges into the concrete and the conceptual. Butcher shops, sex, and machine guns sit in spirited dialogue with language, absence, and time. Cannibalism offers an opportunity to reflect on random killings and the plight of modern man. The resulting poems are varied as well as unified, brilliantly textured and layered. Maranhão’s language sings in forms fixed and free, filled with a jazzlike musicality and fluted rhymes. “In paining me my pain makes me a dean,” one poem reads. “Whose vice is claiming virtue as his own. / Am I saint or devil, or in between? / Am I a killer who is yet unknown?”
Sensually provocative, defined by an aesthetic at once traditional and postmodern, Blood of the Sun introduces a thrilling new voice to the English language.
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Praise and Prizes
“Brazil’s northeast is a dry and ancient land. Little visited, it has come to be known outside the country for producing some of its best writing. In Blood of the Sun, Alexis Levitin has given us a perfect English rendering of Salgado Maranhão’s deft expression of the tonality of this people and land.”
“Alexis Levitin’s translation of Blood of the Sun succeeds in negotiating the quirky experimental richness of Salgado Maranhão’s pre-Columbian, Amazonian, and Yoruba influences with his traditional rhymed lyrics and jazzlike syncopations. Levitin skillfully alerts us to the presence of a complex and offbeat poet whose work merits a wide audience.”
“Translations are holy by nature because they break the impenetrable. . . . All we can trust is the English transformation and what we see are classic themes of chivalry, reflections on the rural, a playful imaginative use of language, a mix of romance and realism, and—oh yes—love, lyric narratives of calm resignation.”
“Salgado Maranhão deliberately stretches the meanings of words up to their very limits to see if he can get more meaning out of words than they normally have.”