6° International Meeting of

Experimental, Sound & Visual Poetry




. Haroldo de Campos (1929-2003) .

Ivana Martínez Vollaro



Haroldo de Campos has set a strong influence on the process of modernization of the contemporanous Brazilian culture.


His activity aroused interest amidst foreign intellectuals, sharing friendship and exchanging ideas with Octavio Paz, Guillermo Cabrera Infante and Umberto Eco, among others.


Poet, translator, essayer, along with his brother Augusto de Campos and Decio Pignatari he founded the Noigandres Group in 1952, launching what later would be known in Brazil as the Concrete Poetry, which main manifest was the "Pilot Plan for Concrete Poetry", published in 1958. The Concrete Group suggested the abolition of the traditional verse, considering that the poem should be a "verbicovisual" piece, in other words, composed by criteria that emphasized the graphic and phonic values of words. The young avant-garde group got inspiration from "Un golpe de dados" (Stephane Mallarmé), "Finnegans Wake" (James Joyce), "Cantos" (Ezra Pound) ansd the poetry works of  E.E.Cummings, among other titles.


Haroldo translated literary works in German, Chinese, Spanish, Greek, Hebrew, English, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Provencal and Russian to Portuguese. From Homero, Dante and the French Provencals, to Mallarmé, Joyce and Octavio Paz. Together with Augusto de Campos and Boris Schnaiderman he published "Poemas de Maiakovski" (1967) and "Modern Russian Poetry" (1968).


These translations were named "transcreations" He considered that in those cases where translations from original languages could alterate the original meaning, it was necessary for translators to give them a self-creative dimension, then turning into a kind of co-writer, thus capable of finding the original poetic result in his own language.


A true power plant of erudition and creativity, Haroldo also dedicated himself to other fields besides poetry, literary criticism and translating. He was a very important interlocutor of the Brazilian vanguards in music, fine arts and cinema.


His extraordinary and complex poetic prose "Galáxias" aroused interest on Brazilian general arts. On the "Circuladô" album, Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso provided the soundtrack to one of his paragraphs.


Haroldo passed away on last August 16, establishing his talent and intellectual strength forever on those who met him personally, or through his work.