Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kenia's Wednesday Challenge

Hello there Toads! It's Kenia here with a new South American poet: Ladies and gentlemen, meet Vinícius de Moraes.


It is clear that life is good
And happiness, the only indescribable emotion
It is clear that I find you beautiful
In you I praise the love of simple things
It is clear that I love you
And I have everything to be happy

But it happens that I am sad

Vinícius was born in 1913, in Rio de Janeiro and besides a poet, he was also a playwright, a diplomat and a composer of  Bossa Nova – many of his songs became all-time classics. I have prepared a special selection for your pleasure, you can click the link below to listen!

Tom Jobim & Vinícius de Moraes

Vinícius published his first collection of poems at the age of 19, in the beginning he wrote mainly free verse and blank verse, but after getting a scholarship to study literature at Oxford University, he abandoned the styles in favour of a poetical programme based on respect for traditional forms and extreme metrical accuracy, by excelling onwards in the handling of the rhymed, metrified sonnet.

Sonnet of separation

Suddenly laughter became sobbing
Silent and white like the mist
And united mouths became foam
And upturned hands became astonished.

Suddenly the calm became the wind
That extinguished the last flame in the eye
And passion became foreboding
And the still moment became drama.

Suddenly, no more than suddenly
He who'd become a lover became sad
And he who'd become content became lon

The near became the distant friend
Life became a vagrant venture
Suddenly, no more than suddenly.

In 1958, Vinícius wrote an autobiography in 81 short verses where he said writing was his way to escape life's dangers, fears and torment.


to speak, those who wish, my dear
allow the heart to speak as well
for it is quite right when it complains
so people allow, allow, allow, allow
no-one lives more than once
say yes in order not to say maybe
passion also exists
don't allow me to be sad.


Vinícius wrote the lyrics for "Garota de Ipanema" ("The Girl from Ipanema"), a worldwide Bossa Nova hit in the mid-1960s that won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. The song was inspired by a fifteen-year-old girl he watched to stroll past the popular Veloso bar-café in Copacabana, where he used to sit with his friends for drinks and conversation. Today's challenge consists of spending some time out (in a café, in a park...) or at the window (if you have a view) and observing a person. Describe him/her. Try to imagine the story behind that person. Build a narrative poem around him/her. Either that or write your person a letter poem.

Link your poem, leave a comment and provide a link in your blog to Real Toads.

Happy writing friends! Happy New Year!


Kerry O'Connor said...

This is so interesting, Kenia. I love to learn about the influences of poets of other lands. I have a special love for the sonnets of Latin American poets, especially the lack of rhyme that occurs in translation, so I may think along those lines today.

Kerry O'Connor said...

And how delightful to have the music to stir the imagination!

Fireblossom said...'s a little disturbing for a middle-aged man to be writing love songs about fifteen year olds, isn't it? That aside, this challenge rocks! I often find that Spabnish language poets bring a special verve and passion to their work, as well as a flair for imagery. I'm thinking of Neruda and Lorca.

Mine is based, very loosely, on a mother and daughter I saw in the grocery store. They were both stylin', and seemed like a matched set. The little girl seemed as happy as a fish in the ocean. My own past was very very different, and I saw these two and life, I want to be THEM!

Fireblossom said...

Hahaha! "Spabnish" language poets?!? I am tellin ya, I speak fluent Spabnish. Good grief. I meant, of course, "Spanish".

Kenia Santos said...

Fireblossom, I agree with the eew factor in the story of the poem/song! The girl didn't see that with bad eyes at the time though, given the fact she became VERY famous because of the song.

I'm glad you like the challenge because it's all about observing what goes around you.


Ostensible Truth said...

a great challenge! people-watching - creating stories for them, I do it constantly haha

cosmos cami said...

Another excellent prompt!
I like the introduction to this poet.
I favor Pablo Neruda myself, Kerry.

Laurie Kolp said...

Thank's for this wonderful prompt, Kenia. It's so good to see you! Happy New Year, toads.

Unknown said...

I'm gonna give this one a go... happy to be back in the garden.

Semaphore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Semaphore said...

Hello Kenia, and everyone - I'm Sam. I'm new to the garden, but happy to be here!

If you're on Twitter, I'm @Semaphore, a moniker which stuck when my first 140-character poems found some following. I'm Semaphore1 on Facebook, if that's where you prefer.

Drop by my blog - and say hi!

Mary said...

Kenia, it took me a while to get an idea for this challenge. It came to me tonight. Thank you for the interesting information and challenge.

Mary B. Mansfield said...

What a great prompt! The writing took me in a direction I really didn't expect (always a happy surprise) but I'm still satisfied with the result.

Ella said...

I love this prompt; I loved hearing the music! I am off to see what I can do, while my house is still quiet~ Thanks Kenia!

Scarlet said...

Thank you for the wonderful post. I am always interested in discovering new poets and inputs for writing. As usual, it takes me time to write about this, but will keep this in mind.