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Modern Buddhism

Here, Doctor, take these scissors… cut
My most exceptional persona…
Who cares if vermin should englut
My heart completely when I die?!

Alas! A vulture has alighted on my fate!
And the aquatic diatomaceae thither…
Their capsulated cryptogam will wither
On contact with that right hand’s weight.

So let my life disintegrate
The same as a decaying cell
A barren egg, aberrant birth;

But let this aggregate of longings dwell
and knock on the perpetual bars
Of the last line I write on earth!


A philosopher’s agony

I read the Phtah-Hotep, I read the obsolete
Rig-Veda. Yet  nothing gives me rest…
The Unconscious haunts me and I swirl possesed,
Restless harmattan in aeolian rage!

I’m witness here to an insect’s death!…
Alas! Now all phenomena of earth
From pole to pole seem to make real
Anaximader of Miletus’s ideal!

Atop the heterogeneous hieratic areopagus
Of Ideas I wander, a lost magus,
From Haeckel’s soul to souls of Cenobites!..

The thick veiling of secret worlds I tear;
And just like Goethe, I catch the sight:
Of universal substance ruling there!


Translated into English by Odile Cisneros


Budismo moderno

Tome, Dr., esta tesoura, e… corte
Minha singularíssima pessoa.
Que importa a mim que a bicharia roa
Todo o meu coração, depois da morte?!

Ah! Um urubu pousou na minha sorte!
Também, das diatomáceas da lagoa
A criptógama cápsula se esbroa
Ao contato de bronca destra forte!

Dissolva-se, portanto, minha vida
Igualmente a uma célula caída
Na aberração de um óvulo infecundo;

Mas o agregado abstrato das saudades
Fique batendo nas perpétuas grades
Do último verso que eu fizer no mundo!


Agonia de um filósofo

Consulto o Phtah-Hotep. Leio o obsoleto
Rig-Veda. E, ante obras tais, me não consolo…
O Inconsciente me assombra e eu nêle tolo
Com a eólica fúria do harmatã inquieto!

Assisto agora à morte de um inseto!…
Ah! todos os fenômenos do solo
Parecem realizar de pólo a pólo
O ideal de Anaximandro de Mileto!

No hierático areópago heterogêneo
Das idéas, percorro como um gênio
Desde a alma de Haeckel à alma cenobial!…

Rasgo dos mundos o velário espesso;
E em tudo, igual a Goethe, reconheço
O império da substância universal!


. . . . . . . . . .


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Augusto de Carvalho Rodrigues dos Anjos was a Brazilian poet born in the city of Cruz do Espírito Santo, Paraíba, April 20, 1884. He was a very atypical person, with similarly atypical poetry which has been classified as Symbolistic, Parnasian and even pre-modernist. His work has, since its publication, been subject to controversy amongst writers, being admired and despised by critics and laymen alike.



Augusto do Anjos was born in Cruz do Espírito Santo, in the Brazilian state of Paraíba. He was educated first by his father, who alphabetized him, and later went to study at local liceum, where he would later become professor in 1908. Augusto was a very precocious poet, and started composing verses at the age of seven.

In 1903, he began studying Law, at the Faculty of Law of Recife, obtaining his degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1907. He married Ester Filiado in 1910. According to Ferreira Gullar, Augusto came in contact with some literature that would shape his view of the world, and would be shown in his own poetry. With the works of Herbert Spencer, he learned of the impossibility of knowing the essence of things, and understood the evolution of nature and humanity. From Ernst Haeckel, he absorbed the concept of the Monera as the beginning of life, and that life and death are merely a chemical fact. However, he also began to believe that this fact did not run contrary to the spiritual essence of the world, something that was contrary to the beliefs of the materialists which was beginning to gain force. Arthur Schopenhauer inspired him to perceive that the annihilation of the will to live is the only way out for humans. This philosophy, distant from the European context from which it arose, for Augusto dos Anjos, was a demonstration of the reality he saw around himself: the crisis of the precapitalist production model, landowners going bankrupt, ex-slaves in misery. This world would then be represents to him, filled of tragedy, with each being experiencing it from birth to death.

Dedicating himself to teaching, he moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he was a professor at various academic installments. He died October 30, 1914, 4 a.m., aged 29, in the city of Leopoldina, Minas Gerais, where he was a director of a school group. His death was caused by pneumonia.

During his life, he published many poems in newspapers, the first being Saudade, in 1900. In 1912, he published his only poetry book, entitled Eu (literally I). After his death, his friend Órris Soares organized an edition entitled Eu e Outras Poesias, including poems until then unpublished by the author.



Brazilian poetry was dominated by the Symbolist and Parnasian literary movements, from which the poet inherited some formal characteristics, though not the content. The incapacity man to express his essence through a “paralytic language”and the attempt to use verses to express reality in the crudest form was his adaptation to the exhaustive work done with the verses by the Parnasians. However, the erudition used in Parnasian poems are broken by Augusto dos Anjos, who was interested giving a classical structure to content which was not at all classical. Augusto’s also poetry shows some aspects of modernist poetry, such as colloquial speech mixed with poetic and scientific terminology, the display of feelings and phenomena through the use of tangible objects and actions and new situations, which pass on a feeling perplexity. He compares the mixture of popular and scholarly terminology as done by another poet, Graciliano Ramos.

Agusto do Anjos’ work can be divided into three phases. The first is influenced by Symbolism, and lacks the originality that would mark his later works. In this phase, poems such as Saudade e Versos Íntimos are included in. The second phase possesses his peculiar vision of the world. One example of this phase is the poem Psicologia de um Vencido. The last phase corresponds to more complex and mature works, including Ao Luar.

His poetry shocked many, especially the Parnasian poets, but today he is one of the Brazilian poets who had his works more widely edited. His popularity was mainly due to his success amongst the more popular layers of society, and to the diffusion of his works made by the Modernists.



His organic language, at times scientific, and aggressively, but constantly rhythmic, containing play on words, ideas, and also intelligent rhymes, often caused repulsion in the critics and the readers of his time. The sales of his Eu only rose after his death.

There are many diverging views amongst critics of Augusto dos Anjos in regard to the quality of his work, and the positions assumed are generally extreme. In any case, be it by the acid deconstructive criticisms, or enthusiastic exaltation of his work, Augusto dos Anjos is far from being unnoticed.


Different approaches

As mentioned before, Augusto dos Anjos remains a controversial author to this day. The controversy between critics is also extended to the reason behind his poetry. Certain critics, such as Ferreira Gullar, explain the melancholy of his works from the author’s life. According to Gullar, the dependent conditions of Brazilian culture make it harder for a literary expression like the one of Augusto dos Anjos: a poet who breaks off from the reigning imitation of European literature going on at that time. This rupture would be caused not by a criticism of such literature, but by his general rejection of the normal view of life, in favor of a more existential view, developed by his personal experience and temperance of character, which he tried to express in his poetry.

Others, such as Chico Viana, whose doctoral thesis was on Augusto dos Anjos himself, explain the general tone of his works using psychoanalytic theory. According to Freud, melancholy is a feeling associated to mourning, but is characterized by the lack of a fixed object. The poetry of Augusto dos Anjos would then be caused by problems with his parents, a Oedipal conflict during his childhood.

There are some that seek to analyze Augusto’s poetry based on his creativity as an artist, according to a concept developed by Harold Bloom. Bloom argued that a new poet would start his own career inspired by famous predecessors. However upon beginning his career, he would note that all that he wanted to say has already been said by someone before him. The poet would then consider that someone has been mistaken about something, therefore opening up a possibility for him to add something new. Harold Bloom#Bloom.27s influence Sandra Erickson, published a book about this “melancholic creativity” in Augusto’s work, which calls special attention to the sublime nature of his poetry and his intelligent appropriation of the wSstern tradition. According to the Erickson, the sonnet is the shelter of the poet, with which Augusto inserted himself between the great Western poets.



In a general sense, Augusto dos Anjos’ poetry is recognizedly original. According to Álvaro Lins, who was a recognized member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras, Auguto’s singularity is connected to his loneliness and also agony. Eudes Barros, in his book A Poesia de Augusto dos Anjos: uma Análise de Psicologia e Estilo, notes the use of uncommon adjectives, and qualifies his nouns as extremely synesthetic, which, allied to the aforementioned adjectives, adding, until then unknown, dimensions to his poetry. Manuel Bandeira highlights the use of synaeresis as a way of representing the impossibility of language, or matter, of expressing the ideals of the spirit. These agreements serve to show come of the genial aspects of Augusto dos Anjos’ work.

The imagery in Augusto’s work is composed of exaggerated teratology, of pain, horror and death. The use of rationality, and, thus, science, are a form of overcoming the agony arising from feelings. However, science, which deeply marks his poetry, be it through the use of terms, or the actual mention of it, brings in suffering. It is also noteworthy the recurrence of certain themes in his works, such as a feeling of universal solidarity, linked to the dehumanization of nature and even of the human itself, which would reduce all beings to the same condition.

The contrasts make his themes peculiar. Idealism and materialism, dualism and monism, the heterogeneous and the homogeneous, love and pain, death and life, everything is made for the human to be complete, as the author puts it, in his poem Contrastes.


 Sobre Augusto dos Anjos

Was a Brazilian poet born in the city of Cruz do Espírito Santo, Paraíba, April 20, 1884. He was a very atypical person, with similarly atypical poetry which has been classified as Symbolistic, Parnasian and even pre-modernist. His work has, since its publication, been subject to controversy amongst writers, being admired and despised by critics and laymen alike.

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