Saturday, June 1, 2019


JUNE 2019

ALICJA KUBERSKA: What does poetry mean to you?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: "You do not live without beauty", I said when my book ‘Amantes da neblina' (‘Lovers of the mist') was presented in 2008. The "Lovers of the mist" are the artists. You might not be aware, but you do not live without listening to music, poetry, or if you cannot look at a painting, a sculpture, a flower, a bright dawn or the starry sky. I think poetry is a physiological need such as breathing, feeding or drinking. A single piece of art has often saved me from depression and despair.

ALICJA KUBERSKA: What’s according to you the meaning of poetry in the contemporary world?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: There are many poets and poetic tendencies. However, as far as I have travelled and attended poetry festivals all over the world, poetry tends to be a bond of union and peace among peoples. Some years ago, when I was attending a poetry festival in Morocco, suddenly was I realizing that Moroccan, Spanish and Portuguese were celebrating poetry and friendship, though it looked strange that, in the past history, these people had been at war.

ALICJA KUBERSKA: Can you describe your creative process while writing a new poem?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: It is a blissful state. If I don't write, I'll get very upset. Writing poetry is absolutely necessary for my balance and therefore for my health. I love the challenges of writing, and especially when poetry comes to me, and the words keep flowing.

ALICJA KUBERSKA: Did it happen to you that a poem was just your dream?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: Dreams do matter in life and especially in poetry; they are the main source of poetic imagination, but it's not enough: a poet must master the techniques and create his own language.

ALICJA KUBERSKA: Tell us about your inspiration. What’re the most important subjects to you?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: I write frequently when I wake up in the morning as if I've brought something from the night and dreams. Often the subjects are related to poems that I was invited to write for literary magazines or poetic anthologies, or just something that comes to my mind. I'm a medical doctor and a Germanist. Therefore, all my experiences converge in poetry, in my passion for literature from various countries, and also for Classical Antiquity, Archaeology, History of Medicine and Medicine. But I transfigure things between every day and the dream, the filtered experience and unconscious breath that estabishes the link with the being, the world and the universe. In my view, Poetry is something that comes from the inside and that I can't explain. It is perhaps the truth, my truth, or just what comes out of my being.

MARIA MIRAGLIA: Which were the emotions that inspired your first verses?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: Memories of love and the sea inspired my first poems after a sailing boat ride. I think poetic transfiguration of reality was my first very allurement.

MARIA MIRAGLIA:  Was your aspiration to become a poet or did all happen by chance?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: I think I've always been a poet. Nevertheless, adverse circumstances only later allowed me to realize my poetic vocation.

MARIA MIRAGLIA: Who is the first person you read your poems to and why?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: I don't read most of my poems to anyone. Some years ago, I read my poems to my son but now he is very busy. Sometimes I read my poems to a friend.  

MARIA MIRAGLIA:  Have you published any poetic anthology, if so what did you feel the first time you got it in your hands?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: An anthology of my poetry ‘Poemas da noite incompleta' (‘Poems of the endless night') was published by Editorial Escrituras, in São Paulo, Brazil, 2010. The book was selected among the seven best books of the Portugal Telecom Prize. I've also organized several anthologies in honour of Portuguese relevant poets, such as Fiama Hasse Pais Brandão (together with Maria Teresa Dias Furtado), António Ramos Rosa, Albano Martins and António Salvado (together with Maria de Lourdes Barata and Alfredo Pérez de Alencart).  All these experiences were very positive.

MARIA MIRAGLIA: Who are the poets you prefer reading? Do you get inspiration from them?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: I like the best Poets. Among the contemporary Portuguese ones, I would mention Fernando Pessoa, Herberto Helder and António Ramos Rosa;  Friedrich Schiller, Friedrich Hölderlin, Rainer Maria Rilke, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Valèry, Guillaume Appolinaire, Walt Whitman, W.B. Yeats, or Paul Celan, are among the foreign poets that I absolutely admire, just for a short selection. I have translated some of these poets into Portuguese.

APRILIA ZANK:  How important is accessibility of meaning to you? Do you challenge the readers to work hard to decipher your poems, or do you prefer transparency of meaning?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: I like to express myself with clarity, conveying properly what I want, so that the poem could be deep, challenging and, often, enigmatic.

APRILIA ZANK: What kind of poems do you write mostly? Do you have recurring themes, or are all your poems unique?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: I write poems on love, life, nature, death, sometimes starting from my life experiences. Sometimes I write on places and experiences that I really never lived. I can´t explain what I write nor why. I write on finity, infinity, projecting my feelings, disclosing my wounds, always pursuing the harmony of the Universe. I do have those recurrent themes, but I also like to write on new subjects.

APRILIA ZANK:  Do you think your poetry is typically feminine / masculine? If yes, in what way?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: I think my poetry is very feminine. Sometimes a dialogue with a male lover clearly identifies me as a woman, but I cannot identify other feminine trends.

APRILIA ZANK: Do you write mostly about yourself, or do you also have an open eye /ear for the issues of the world?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: When I write about myself, poetry transcends me. Issues of the world are frequently a subject. I think all the poets dream of bliss and a better and fair world.

APRILIA ZANK: In what way is your poetry different from that of other poets?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: My poetry conveys, in my own language, my experience, my aesthetic concern, and my vision of the world. What motivates me to write is my absolute need for beauty, reflection on myself, the others, death, the transcendent, and the issues of the world.

LEYLA IŞIK:  What are the main factors to make poetry real poetry?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: Real poetry is art. I read it once twice, you read it many times, and you still find out something new. Real poetry is neither easy nor plain. A poem must be consistent, and you must have something to say. I followed the advice that the composer Niccolò Paganini gave to a young composer. Paganini said something like “Just write something when you really have anything to say”.

LEYLA IŞIK:  Do you think imagery is important in poetry? Where does the importance of imagery begin in a poem, where does it end?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: The imagery is of central importance in my poetry; it is a key tool for artistic beauty, and for transfiguration and transcendence.

LEYLA IŞIK: What are the most used types of poetry in your country?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: I would say that there are many tendencies, some of them absolutely unhelpful. The good poets like Fernando Pessoa, Herberto Herder or António Ramos Rosa are still at the top of the best contemporary poetry.

LEYLA IŞIK: What’s important to be a good poet? To write good poems!

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: A poet must be talented. A poet is more than just a verse-maker.

LEYLA IŞIK: Who are the most important poets and their main properties nowadays?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: The choice is always personal. I've already written about my personal short selection.

DEBORAH BROOKS LANGFORD: Understanding poetry begins with visualizing the central images in the poem. What do you see, taste, smell, hear, and feel? What is the imagery of your poetry?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: My poetry appeals to the senses. Frequently classical music, especially enchanting music, by Wagner, Bruckner and Scriabin, inspires my poems. I also I've been inspired by travelling, mostly archaeological sites, and other arts, like painting and sculpture. I'm particularly fond of wild Nature, wildflowers, the cliffs, the sea, the boats, and everything that stirs my imagination.

DEBORAH BROOKS LANGFORD: What is the mood of your poetry? (Or How does it make you feel?)

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: I am incorrigibly optimistic, even when I write sad and desperate poems. In the end, light always prevails.

DEBORAH BROOKS LANGFORD: In your poetry who is the speaker of the poem? Are you speaking to yourself or to others?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: I write in the first person or in a dialogue with a ‘you' that may be the reader. I think when you publish, you always write to other people. Poetry is a privileged approach to others.

DEBORAH BROOKS LANGFORD: What is the message of your poetry? What messages do your poetry convey?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: My poems can shift from very pleasant to very dark metaphors or states of mind, but my message is usually a kind of sunshine, a message of hope, aesthetic fruition that any piece of art provides.

DEBORAH BROOKS LANGFORD: Does the internet and social media contribute to the success of your poetry? Is this the reason you write for?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: The internet has helped me a lot, especially Facebook, which is a wonderful way of keeping in touch with poets from distant places and languages. I have received many invitations to collaborate in anthologies and to attend poetry festivals from people that I've met on the internet. But pursuing success is not the main reason that leads me to write.

NILAVRONILL SHOOVRO:  Thank you so much dear poet for the interview. We would like to know your personal experience with OPA as a literary web journal. Would you like to share anything more with our readers?

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO: Poetry is a place of utopia, but I think it carries the best and most beautiful humanistic values that we should keep in mind when we face our strange and unfair world.

MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO is a multilingual poet, Medicine Doctor,  translator and researcher, Vice-President of the Portuguese Pen Centre between 2012-2014, Portuguese Cultural Delegate of the Poetic Liceo of Benidorm, Honorary Member of the Circle of Mozambican Writers in the Diaspora. She published forty poetry books in Portugal, Brazil, Spain, France and USA, translations and essays. She has published forty-six books of poetry, along with translations and literary essays. She is editor of the literary journal "Espaço do Ser – Poesia, Tradução e Ensaio". Her poems are translated into twenty languages. She has organized anthologies, cultural events, and she is frequently invited for international poetry festivals. She was awarded several literary poetry prizes. She is a History of Medicine researcher, Director of the Department of History of Medicine of the Portuguese Medical Association since 2012, visiting Professor of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon, member of the Centre for History of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon, member of the Researcher of the Lisbon National Museum of Archaeology, and collaborator and referee of scientific books and journals.

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