Poetry International Poetry International

Lêdo Ivo

Lêdo Ivo

Lêdo Ivo

(Brazil, 1924 - 2012)

After completing his law degree, Lêdo Ivo (Brazil, 1924) began working as a journalist, alongside which he has written poetry, stories, novels and essays. He was born in Maceió, the capital of the Alagoas confederation in the north-east of Brazil. The city is situated on a peninsula, and images of tidal forests, home to crabs and other amphibious animals; dunes; spits of land; abandoned shipyards and shipwrecks are characteristic of his poems.

Ivo debuted in 1944 and a year later was awarded the Olva Bilac Prize by the Brazilian Literary Academy. In 1987 he became a member of that same academy. Up until 2008 he published regularly and won many prizes and distinctions. As well as translations of Arthur Rimbaud – an important influence – he has also written his memoirs, including Confessions of a Poet (1985) and And Now Goodbye (2007).

In the first volume of his memoirs, he recounts his childhood in the 1930s in the interior of Alagoas, where he and his father visited clients in a small Ford. In the second volume, he tells of getting to know his contemporary, João Cabral de Melo Neto (1920–1999). Both poets are associated with the “1945 generation” in history books. After the 1920s and 30s, when the avant-gardism of San Paolo did away with many conventions, this generation returned to classical and, in particular, strict forms. Lêdo Ivo cared deeply about his fellow poet but was his opposite in almost all things. The warmth and sensuality of his poetry contrasted sharply with the anti-lyrical rationalism of João Cabral’s poems and his crippling search for clarity. Cabral was tormented because he couldn’t figure out who he was; Lêdo Ivo preferred not to know who he was. He let others judge and hoped that none of them was right.

After several years of searching, Lêdo Ivo’s poetry finally found its own way, distinct from that of the “1945 Generation”. Rimbaud’s influence is recognisable in his attempts to find a “rhetoric of the unutterable”, as Brazilian critic, Mário Chamie, put it. After he had put aside his original predilection for long-windness and abstractions, Ivo arrived at ironic, short parodies. Because of this, his poems are sometimes reminiscent of the works of Dutchman Rutger Kopland.

© Ruud Ploegmakers (Translated by Michele Hutchison)

Lêdo Ivo was a guest at the 41st Poetry International Festival. This text was written for that occasion.



As imaginações, Pongetti, Rio de Janeiro, 1944
Ode e elegia, Pongetti, Rio de Janeiro, 1945
Acontecimento do soneto, O Livro Inconsútil, Barcelona, 1948
Ode ao crepúsculo, Pongetti, Rio de Janeiro, 1948
Cântico, J. Olympio, Rio de Janeiro, 1949
Linguagem: (1949-19041), J. Olympio, Rio de Janeiro, 1951
Ode equatorial, Hipocampo, Niterói, 1951
Acontecimento do soneto, Orfeu, Rio de Janeiro, 1951
Um brasileiro em Paris, J. Olympio, Rio de Janeiro, 1955
O rei da Europa Magias, Agir, Rio de Janeiro, 1960
Uma lira dos vinte anos Rio de Janeiro, Liv,  São José, 1962
Estação central, Tempo Brasileiro, Rio de Janeiro, 1964
Finisterra, J. Olympio, Rio de Janeiro, 1972
O sinal semafórico, J. Olympio, Rio de Janeiro, 1974
O soldado raso, Edições Pirata, Recife, 1980
A noite misteriosa, Record, Rio de Janeiro, 1982
Calabar, Record, Rio de Janeiro, 1985
Mar Oceano, Record, Rio de Janeiro, 1987
Crepúsculo civil, Topbooks, Rio de Janeiro, 1990
Curral de peixe, Topbooks, Rio de Janeiro, 1995
Noturno romano, Impressões do Brasil,Teresópolis, 1997
O rumor da noite, Nova Fronteira, Rio de Janeiro, 2002
Plenilúnio, Topbooks, Rio de Janeiro, 2004
Réquiem, A Contracapa, Rio de Janeiro, 2008
Poesia Completa - 1940-2004, Topbooks, Rio de Janeiro, 2004

As alianças, Agir, Rio de Janeiro, 1947
O caminho sem aventura, Instituto Progresso, São Paulo, 1948
O sobrinho do general, Civilização Brasileira, Rio de Janeiro, 1964
Ninho de cobras, J. Olympio, Rio de Janeiro, 1973
A morte do Brasil, Record, Rio de Janeiro, 1984

Short stories
Use a passagem subterrânea, Difusão Européia do Livro, São Paulo, 1961
O flautim, Bloch, Rio de Janeiro, 1966
10 [dez] contos escolhidos, Horizonte, Brasília, 1986
Os melhores contos de Lêdo Ivo, Global, São Paulo, 1995
Um domingo perdido, Global, São Paulo, 1998

A cidade e os dias, O Cruzeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 1957
O navio adormecido no bosque, Duas Cidades, São Paulo, 1971
As melhores crônicas de Lêdo Ivo, Global, São Paulo, 2004

Lição de Mário de Andrade, Ministério da Educação e Saúde, Rio de Janeiro, 1951
O preto no branco, Exegese de um poema de Manuel Bandeira, Liv. São José, Rio de Janeiro, 1955
Raimundo Correia: poesia, Agir, Rio de Janeiro, 1958
Paraísos de papel, Conselho Estadual de Cultura, São Paulo, 1961
Ladrão de flor, Elos, Rio de Janeiro, 1963
O universo poético de Raul Pompéia, Liv. São José, Rio de Janeiro, 1963
Poesia observada, Orfeu, Rio de Janeiro, 1967
Modernismo e modernidade, Liv. São José, Rio de Janeiro, 1972
Teoria e celebração, Duas Cidades, São Paulo, 1976
Alagoas, Bloch, Rio de Janeiro, 1976
A ética da aventura, F. Alves, Rio de Janeiro, 1982
A república da desilusão, Topbooks, Rio de Janeiro, 1995

Autobiographical works
Confissões de um poeta, Difusão Européia do Livro, São Paulo, 1979
O aluno relapso, Massao Ohno, São Paulo, 1991
E agora adeus, correspondência para Lêdo Ivo, Instituto Moreira Salles, São Paulo, 2007

Children’s books
O menino da noite, Companhia. Editora Nacional, São Paulo, 1995
O canário azul, Scipione, São Paulo, 1990
O rato da sacristia, Global, São Paulo, 2000

Translated into Dutch
Vleermuizen en blauwe krabben (translator: August Willemsen), Wagner & Van Santen, Sliedrecht, 2000

Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Lira fonds
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère