Joáo Cabral De Melo Neto

Biography of Joáo Cabral De Melo Neto

João Cabral de Melo Neto (9 January 1920 – 9 October 1999) was a Brazilian poet and diplomat. He is considered one of the greatest Brazilian poets of all time and was awarded the 1990 Camões Prize, the greatest prize in Portuguese language and the 1992 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.


In the poetry of Cabral, antithetical dualities adorned with baroque are worked to exhaustion: between time and space, inside and outside, massive and non-massive, male and female, northeast and Andalusian fertile semidesert, or Savanna and Pernambucan humid desert. It is a poetry that causes some shock in one who expects an poetry of emotions because his work is basically cerebral and "sensationalist," seeking a purely objective constructive and communicative poetry.

Although there is a tendency in his surrealist poems, especially in the initial, as in Stone Sleep, seeking a poetry that was also significant, Melo Neto need not resort to pathos ("passion") to create a poetic atmosphere. Avoiding any romantic tendencies, he seeks an elaborate construction of language and thought and said of his poetry, turning the whole image perception in something concrete and related to the senses, especially to the touch, as can be seen well in a single-blade knife. In this poem, Cabral presents the image of the knife cutting through the feeling of emptiness that makes it seem as if a knife is cutting into flesh.

Some words that are often used in his poetry are: sugar cane, stone, bone, skeleton, tooth-edged, razor, knife, scythe, blade, cut, skinned, bay watch, dry, mineral, desert, aseptic, empty, hungry. Things sound and tactile sensations: a poetry of concrete.

It was rejected several times for the Nobel (which until now have never been given is a Brazilian) and even then, not because of the prize that was never considered important. He received numerous awards in Brazil and abroad, always leaving their mark, and he was a great inspiration for the concrete poetry movement in Brazil and the world.

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