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ManiFesto 

José Oswald de Andrade [Translated by Leslie Barry] 

 

from THE CANNIBAL MANIFESTO

 

 

Only cannibalism unites us. Socially. Economically. Philosophically.

 

* * *

 

Only law in the world. Masked expression of all individualisms, of all collectivisms. Of all religions. Of all peace treaties.

 

 

* * *

 

Tupi, or not Tupi, that is the question.

 

* * *

 

I am only interested in what isn’t mine. Law of man. Law of cannibalism.

 

* * *

 

It was because we never had grammars, of collections of pressed plants. And we never knew what urban, suburban, frontier, and continental were. Sluggish in the mapamundi of Brazil.

 

* * *

 

Against Father Vieira. Architect of our first loan, to earn commission. The illiterate king said to him: Put that on paper but without much chatter. The loan was done. Brazilian sugar was signed away. Vieira left the money in Portugal and brought us the gab.

 

* * *

 

Routes. Routes. Routes. Routes. Routes. Routes. Routes.

 

* * *

 

Against vegetable elite. In communication with the soil.

 

* * *

 

We already had communism. We already had surrealist language. The Golden Age.

 

* * *

 

I asked a man what law was. He answered that it was the guarantee to the exercise of possibility. That man was called Galli Mathias. I ate him.

 

* * *

 

There isn’t determinism only when there is mystery. But what does that have to do with us?

 

 

* * *

 

Against the histories of man that begin on the Cape Finisterre. The undated world. The un-initiated one. Without Napoleon. Without Caesar.

 

* * *

 

To arrive at the idea of God, it is necessary to depart from a deep atheism. But the Carib didn’t need that. Because they had Guaraci.

The created react like the fallen angels. Later Moses rambles. What does that have to do with us?

 

* * *

 

Before the Portuguese discovered Brazil, Brazil had discovered happiness.

 

 

* * *

 

Joy is the proof by nines.

 

* * *

 

Against Goethe, the mother of the Gracchis, and the Court of D. Joao VI.

 

* * *

 

Joy is the proof by nines.

 

* * *

 

 

Against social reality, dressed and oppressive, registered by Freud – reality without complexes, without madness, without prostitutes and without the prisons of the Pindorama matriarchy.

 

 

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Selected translator’s notes:

 

-       The Tupi are indigenous Brazilians.

-       Galli Mathias is also a pun, referring to the Portuguese word Galamatias, which means nonsense.

-       Pindorama is the Tupi term for Brazil. Guaraci is the Tupi sun god, mother of all men. Jaci is the Tupi moon god, creator of all plants.

 

 

 

First printed in the Revista de Antropofagia, Year 1, No. 1, 1928. Annotated translation by Leslie Barry in Latin America Literary Review Vol. 19, No. 38 (July-Dec 1991) the translation reprinted in Bengal Lights Autumn 2013.

 

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FRANK O’HARA

from PERSONISM: A MANIFESTO

 

Everything is in the poems, but at the risk of sounding like the poor wealthy man’s Allen Ginsberg I will write to you because I just heard that one of my fellow poets thinks that a poem of mine that can’t be got at one reading is because I was confused too. Now, come on. I don’t believe in god, so I don’t have to make elaborately sounded structures. I hate Vachel Lindsay, always have, I don’t even like rhythm, assonance, all that stuff. You just go on your nerve. If someone’s chasing you down the street with a knife you just run, you don’t turn around and shout, "Give it up! I was a track star for Mineola Prep." 
     That’s for the writing poems part. As for their reception, suppose you’re in love and someone’s mistreating (mal aimé) you, you don’t say, "Hey, you can’t hurt me this way, I care!" you just let all the different bodies fall where they may, and they always do ‘flay after a few months. But that’s not why you fell in love in the first place, just to hang onto life, so you have to take your chances and try to avoid being logical. Pain always produces logic, which is very bad for you. 
     I’m not saying that I don’t have practically the most lofty ideas of anyone writing today, but what difference does that make? They’re just ideas. The only good thing about it is that when I get lofty enough I’ve stopped thinking and that’s when refreshment arrives. 
     But how can you really care if anybody gets it, or gets what it means, or if it improves them. Improves them for what? For death? Why hurry them along? Too many poets act like a middle-aged mother trying to get her kids to eat too much cooked meat, and potatoes with drippings (tears). I don’t give a damn whether eat or not. Forced feeding leads to excessive thinness (effete). Nobody should experience anything they don’t need to, if they don’t need poetry bully for them, I like the movies too. And all, only Whitman and Crane and Williams, of the American are better than the movies. As for measure and other technical apparatus, that’s just common sense: if you’re going to buy a pair of pants you want them to be tight enough so everyone will want to go to bed with you. There’s nothing metaphysical about it. Unless of course, you flatter yourself into thinking that what you’re experiencing is "yearning." 
     Abstraction in poetry, which Allen recently commented on in It is, is intriguing. I think it appears mostly in the minute particulars where decision is necessary. Abstraction (in poetry, not in painting) involves personal removal by the poet. For instance, the decision involved in the choice between "the nostalgia of the infinite" and "the nostalgia for the infinite" defines an attitude toward degree of abstraction. The nostalgia of the infinite representing the greater degree of abstraction, removal, and negative capability (as in Keats and Mallarmé). Personism, a movement which I recently founded and which nobody yet knows about, interests me a great deal, being so totally opposed to this kind of abstract removal that it is verging on a true abstraction for the first time, really, in the history of poetry. Personism is to Wallace Stevens what la poésie pure was to Béranger. Personism has nothing to do with philosophy, it’s all art. It does not have to do with personality or intimacy, far from it! But to give you a vague idea, one of its minimal aspects is to address itself to one person (other than the poet himself), thus evoking overtones of love without destroying love’s life-giving vulgarity, and sustaining the poet’s feelings towards the poem while preventing love from distracting him into feeling about the person. That’s part of personism. It was founded by me after lunch with LeRoi Jones on August 27, 1959, a day in which I was in love with someone (not Roi, by the way, a blond). I went back to work and wrote a poem for this person. While I was writing it I was realizing that if I wanted to I could use the telephone instead of writing the poem, and so Personism was born. It’s a very exciting movement which will undoubtedly have lots of adherents. It puts the poem squarely between the poet and the person, Lucky Pierre style, and the poem is correspondingly gratified. The poem is at last between two persons instead of two pages.


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[Frank O’Hara. "Personism: A Manifesto," Yugen #7, 1961.]