Antonio Sergio Bessa Did the search for a new subjectivity lead you to the “other”? You mentioned your readings of Eliot and Pound, and as you know, a major part of their poetry is a kind of collage of other poems and voices. Is that what attracted you to their work?

Francisco Alvim No doubt. What I found in Eliot and Pound was a voice coming from a new, crushed subjectivity, which had already emerged, splendidly and movingly, in Baudelaire. My feeling is that, in our time, this subjectivity became manifest in poetry in two ways: via material things, of the thing-thing and the word-thing, and via man. “Via” here is meant as channel, as in voice, or speech, and of course writing. Via man, it became pluralistic and fragmented, because today man is a being without individuality, and the world, a reality imploded into a thousand fragments. Thus the shrapnel of voice, voice which is also, above all, a desperate attempt—inexorably failed—to hear itself and the other’s voice.

from BOMB’s interview of Francisco Alvim by Antonio Sergio Bessa, AMERICAS: Brazil Now! Winter 2008 issue

Three poems by poet and diplomat Francisco Alvim from Elefante, translated by interviewer Antonio Sergio Bessa.




for Cacaso


Sometimes the gaze follows

the network of light

without any curiosity

any illusion

It goes on in search of time

and time, as always,

emptied of everything

is not far

is here, now

The gaze with no memory

without destiny


in the air of air

in the light of light—





for Carlos Drummond de Andrade


There are many shadows in the world

They blow in the clouds

and in the air they

glitter solitary like topazes—

drops of dimmed light

The stars blow wind

Shadows are the wind of stars

At the bottom of waters trapped

in ponds and dams

there is a wind of waters—


In the sea

they refract submersed


amidst forests of algae—

shadows of emerged shadows

They are made—the shadows—of dark


They remember all and nil

The flight of shadows

spins around a sonorous

column, the poem—

light from inside




No Plot




In the platform above


Between the legs

on the floor

the groceries in a plastic bag


Far from verse, almost prose

No guts

for the always venturesome—

while they last—

flights of passion


Far so far

from humor from irony

from the polymorph voices


tattered in the tongue’s



Where ground is ground

legs, legs

things, things

and the word, none

There, only the refraction

of an idea

of a thought exhausted

of movement


Between two roads

two harbors

(two lagoons)

two illnesses


Sublime virtues of chance

why not take me

from inside

and protect me from the cold outside

from the incessant, unbearable flight of plot?

from choosing?



Read Francisco Alvim by Antonio Sergio Bessa in BOMB’s Winter 2008 Brazil issue, on newsstands now. Subscribe today and receive your FREE copy!


BOMB 102
Winter 2008
The cover of BOMB 102