Portuguese American Journal

Poem: ‘Location, Location’ by George Monteiro

Years ago, finding myself in Lisbon on the Fourth of July, I could think of no better thing to do that day than check out the brand new Centro de Arte Moderna, located at the end of grounds belonging to the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. I pretty much expected to see Fernando Pessoa and the Orpheu coterie well represented. Nevertheless, I was surprised to see how much choice space had been allotted to Almada Negreiros. G.M.


Location, Location

Almada Negreiros self-portrait

Almada Negreiros self-portrait

Almada owns, right now, the first room
—a large foyer—of the exhibiting area
of the shiny new Centro de Arte Moderna.

Never mind the trifles on the back wall
to the left as you enter. Take a good look
at what’s on the facing walls, running left

and right, into the main room housing what
is permanent of the “others” (among whom
Almada surely numbers). But glance back

into the foyer, see his African tapestries, a
double triptych, scenes of immigration (in-
cluding a steerage one) paired with those

of a Lisbon Sunday, cidade alfacinha busy
at play. Many faces and many torsos and
limbs show forth in woven panels. Facing

them, on the right wall, there sits at a table,
in a belated work big with design, the messenger.
This canvas, Almada’s deviant clone (no secret),

might affront these colorful carpets. But no, the
person in it doesn’t look out of his clean space, so
clean that you can’t see the smoke he has exhaled.

Imagined to a T, his people know less of Almada’s
splendid, niggard world, having come to their own
realization only by way of balloons spoken in zeal.

July 4, 1984

Fernando Pessoa. Oil by Almada Negreiros.

Fernando Pessoa. Oil by Almada Negreiros.



George Monteiro, professor emeritus of English and of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at Brown University, is the author or editor of books on Henry James, Henry Adams, Robert Frost, Stephen Crane, Emily Dickinson, Fernando Pessoa, and Luis de Camões, among others. He served as Fulbright lecturer in American Literature in Brazil–São Paulo and Bahia–Ecuador and Argentina; and as Visiting Professor in UFMG in Belo Horizonte. In 2007 he served as Helio and Amelia Pedroso / Luso-American Foundation Professor of Portuguese, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Among his recent books are Stephen Crane’s Blue Badge of Courage, Fernando Pessoa and Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Literature, The Presence of Pessoa, The Presence of Camões, Conversations with Elizabeth Bishop, Critical Essays on Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Fernando Pessoa and Nineteen-Century Anglo-American Literature and Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil and After: A poetic Career Transformed. Among his translations are Iberian Poems by Miguel Torga, A Man Smiles at Death with Half a Face by José Rodrigues Miguéis, Self-Analysis and Thirty Other Poems by Fernando Pessoa, and In Crete, with the Minotaur, and Other Poems by Jorge de Sena. He has also published two collections of poems, The Coffee Exchange and Double Weaver’s Knot. More…

Other Posts by Professor George Monteiro