Anthology of Poetry Toda Poesia (All Poetry) by Paulo Leminski, Brazilian poet Paulo Leminski (1944-1989), Curitiba/Paraná/Brazil, Oneness of Humanity, Poem “Contranarciso” (Counter-narcissus) by Paulo Leminski
Brazilian Poet Paulo Leminski in his Study
Photo Credit: Veja Magazine, São Paulo/Brazil
My Poetry Corner August 2019 features the poem “Counter-narcissus” (Contranarciso) by Paulo Leminski (1944-1989), a Brazilian poet, translator, and biographer. He was born of humble origins in Curitiba, capital of the southern state of Paraná. His father was of Polish descent; his mother was a mixture of Portuguese, Black, and Native Indian. He publicly owned with pride, the derogatory labels of “polaco” and “negro mestiço.”
At the age of fourteen, with his parents’ approval, Paulo entered the Monastery of Saint Benedict in São Paulo. Within a year and a half, unable to cope with the disciplined lifestyle, he returned home. But his time spent among the monks wasn’t wasted. His studies exposed him to theology, philosophy, and Classical literature which demanded a knowledge of Latin and Greek. Later in life, Leminski applied the monks’ rigid and strenuous study routine to his work. Passionate about language, he became an autodidact polyglot fluent in six foreign languages.
Before the realization that poetry was his life, Paulo abandoned his undergraduate studies in literature and law after just a year, taught history and creative writing for a while, and later applied his writing skills as a journalist and advertising editor. Continue reading