Joseph Brodsky on visiting Brazil

Nobel-winning poet Brodsky apparently visited Brazil in the 80s or early 90s. Here's the resulting essay.

From an essay entitled "After a Journey, or Homage to Vertebrae"

..."...among the notes that survived the trip there are several sttanzas of a Rio Samba: doggerel, really, but some rhymes aren't so bad:

Come to Rio, oh come to Rio.
Grow a mustache and change your bio.
Here the right get richer, the poor get poorer,
here each old man is a Sturmbahführer.

Come to Rio, oh come to Rio.
There is no other city with such brio.
There are phones by Siemens, and even Jews
Drive around like crazy in VWs.

Come to Rio, oh come to Rio.
Here Urania rules and no trace of Clio.
Buildings ape Corbusier's beehive-cum-waffle,
though this time you can't blame this on the Luftwaffe.

Come to Rio, oh come to Rio.
Here every bird sings "O sole mio."
So do fish when caught, so do proud snow geese
in midwinter here, in Portuguese.

Come to Rio, oh come to Rio.
It's the Third World all right, so they still read Leo
Trotsky, Guevara, and other sirens;
still, the backardness spares them the missle silos.

Come to Rio, oh come to Rio.
If you come in duo, you may leave in trio.
If you come alone, you'll leave with a zero
in your thoughts as valuable as one cruzeiro.

This, of course, could have been written without my leaving Manhattan. As quite a lot of far better stuff was written, even by me. Guilt, as I said, is a better vehicle. Still, I've dipped myself into the southern Atlantic and in general insinuated my body into what until then was just a high-school geography lesson. Ergo sum.

I was also entertained there by a local pharmacist ... he promised to get me a Baby Hermes with my favorite typeface, and he treated at a churrascaria at the Leblon beach.


Novelization of Eliabeth Bishop's years in Brazil

North American heads to Brazil not knowing what to expect, falls in love, feels wildly creative, stays as long as possible. It's the Brazilophile template, and happens to be a major chapter in the life of one of the 20th century's greatest poets, Elizabeth Bishop. This story is now a novel.


NYT on scouting supermodels in rural Brazil

Here's the link.