Poetry and Music: An Interview on the Edge of the Genres
Paulo César de Carvalho is an interesting 43-years-old poet from São Paulo, Brazil. I met him last year, through a mutual friend called Thiago Galego, who wanted us to meet because we both are poets and we live closely. And Thiago was turning many Carvalho’s poetries into music. So one day we met in his house, which is a kind of meeting point for poets and composers. We spent many hours talking about literature, I have already read his books. And a unique characteristic in Carvalho’s poetry caught me: he is truly musical. One can whistles his poetries and their sound will last in mind for a long time.
Because of this way of writing poetry, I chose him to be the first author to be interviewed for this sequence with contemporary poets that I am starting to publish here. Carvalho holds a Bachelor degree in Law and a Master in Linguistics on USP (University of São Paulo). He is Professor of Grammar, Reading Comprehension and Writing and was editor of the bulletin “Texto & Cultura”. He also collaborates for different magazines. He is columnist of literary website Musa Rara and his poems were published in the book “Na virada do século – poesia de invenção no Brasil” and in the Portuguese anthology “Poezz” (Almedina). He released the poetry books “Toque de Letra” and “Letra na Clave é de Sol”. He is vocalist and lyricist of the band “Os Babilaques” and has partnerships with several names of the contemporary music scene of Sao Paulo, as Tatá Aeroplano, Pélico, Thiago Galego and Trupe Chá de Boldo. His song “Na Garrafa” (partnership with Trupe) reached the first place in Top 10 of the Brazilian MTV.
WIDBOOK – You are a poet and a studious of the poetry. You not only study the edges between lyric and poetry, but also write inside this territory. How can we survey this hybrid land?
PAULO CÉSAR DE CARVALHO - I believe, such as Walter Benjamim wrote, that the abolishment of the edges between the discursive and textual genres is a characteristic of the contemporaneity: I’m interested in putting together poetry, music, cinema, theater, plastic arts and etc. About the specific issue between poetry and music, the word is the bridge between different codes.
A Brazilian poet called Paulo Leminski used to say that by the music, the song, the poetry has a chance to begin as masses’ adventure. It means, poetry can get out of its confinement in the literature’s palace and become wares, by a good way, of course. Poetry could bring to the masses the appreciation of the refined cookies.
WIDBOOK – How does your work fit in this purpose?
CARVALHO - My work is exactly where both, music and poetry, meet each other. I use to surf on the waves formed when the waters of the music discover the water of the words. I’m in the lapse between sound and sense, as told us Paul Valery.
WIDBOOK – Many critics use to say that the contemporary poetry is so diffused, but so diffused, that the only thing able to connect them is the fact that there is no connection. What’s your perception about this literary moment?
CARVALHO - I believe in the critic formulation of Marjorie Perloff that today seems to have more poets than readers of poetry. There are so many poets… but quantity, as we know, doesn’t mean quality. The poetry is still a minority genre. A few people enjoy it.
Different from other times – when poetic movements were happening and perception around it was bigger, which means authors were developing the same aesthetic line -, is today the polyphony the master of our historical moment? Again, it means there are different poetry purposes, hybrid lines drinking from different sources, heirs of several writing schools.
There are several neo-Parnassians reheating classicism, many neo-surrealists, new beats, sons of the concretism, poets engaged in a social collaboration, etc. But, in fact, today there is no purpose or school, or even movement, connected to the poets. Everyone is guiding oneself by an individual way disconnected of the collective notion.
WIDBOOK – How do you think technology and social connections such as Widbook, can contribute on the creative process?
CARVALHO - The important thing to note here is the fact that the digital universe is new, but this collective creation is quite old. The method of creating collectively is here for a long time, in many places, in different historical moments, in different aesthetic. For example, the Japanese used to write enormous verses series created by many hands: the Renga. By this way they found the synthetic and individual shape of the Haicai. In vanguards, in the beginning of the XX century, there were surrealists who once tried the collective creation, by the automatic writing process. In Brazil, the most known musical genre, Samba, is also an example of this method. They can be improvised around a bar table.
The internet might reactivate and make this collaborations and meetings easily, especially between authors who are geographically far away.
The poetry of Paulo César de Carvalho into music:
- Na Garrafa – partnership with Trupe Chá de Boldo
- Seu Par - partnership with Thiago Galego
- Vou Vagar meu Bem - partnership with Thiago Galego
- Fim da Linha - partnership with Thiago Galego
- Ou Muda ou Mudo - partnership with Thiago Galego
By Jr. Bellé