NEW’S | Amidst the herbs and the spikes


The poetry collection Calligraphy of the Birds from Azorean poet ngela de Almeida, translated to English by Diniz Borges was recently published by the exclusive poetry collection NONA poesia in Portugal Delgada, Azores with the collaboration of Bruma Publications from PBBI-Fresno State.

As writer Fernando Dacosta writes in the introduction: Remarkable for her subtlety, ngela de Almeida advances in the Portuguese literary world by unveiling herself to better conceal herself through an unequaled aesthetic, ethic, and poetics. Endowed with unique resources that her intelligence and experience highlight, she creates spaces for herself and her work, achieving an uncommon affirmation of writing and imagery.”

The literary critic Vamberto Freitas, referring to the book when it was first published in Portuguese, wrote: “The poet looks both to the most intimate state and to a world sunk in terrifying chaos, but always through soft words that never assault or turn the reader to a depressing state, much less pessimistic. All these poems are a reaffirmation of the value of life and the denunciation without accusations or addresses of those who make it a pain for whom humanism continues to be a kind of compass in the choice for resistance, even if in calculated isolation between the home, library, or eventual conviviality with their peers, friends, and family.”

According to Diniz Borges, who translated the poems into English: “it was essential to bring the works of ngela de Almeida to the Portuguese-American community, many looking for works of art from the Portuguese language in English as a way to connect to their roots,’ adding “the English language reader of poetry, independently of one’s background, ethnicity or nationality will certainly find an array of universal themes in ngela’s work.”

According to the translator, who is also the Portuguese Beyond Borders Institute (PBBI) director at Fresno State, “it made sense to publish ngela as the first translation work for Bruma Publications because she is a poet who bridges various generations in Azorean poetry.”

The book was launched at the end of 2022 in Ponta Delgada, Azores, and is available at Letras Lavadas on the island of São Miguel. A book launch is planned for later this year at Fresno State; however, according to Diniz Borges, folks can be ordered it through PBBI-Fresno State by emailing a request to dborges@mail.fresnostate.edu. The book is $20, which includes sending through the mail anywhere in the US.

Bruma is the Portuguese Beyond Borders Institute (PBBI) publishing project, working with University Press at California State University, Fresno. It is dedicated to disseminating works, including translations, of enduring educational and cultural value foregrounding the Portuguese-American experience in California and the Western United States, its connection with the Azores, and the Portuguese Speaking world. Bruma will extend PBBI’s mission to a community of readers across the globe.

*from a poem in Caligraphy of the Birds

Mauricio De Jesus
Maurício de Jesus é o Diretor de Programação da Rádio Ilhéu, sediada na Ilha de São Jorge. É também autor da rubrica 'Cronicas da Ilha e de Um Ilhéu' que é emitida em rádios locais, regionais e da diáspora desde 2015.