THE SECRET DEATH by Érico Nogueira


English Version


As Chris Miller puts it, in introducing his brilliant translation of the Brazilian poet Érico Nogueira’s A Morte Secreta, a poet visits the ‘cavernous waste shore’ of Rhodes. In slasher-giallo headlines, we hear of his disembowelling. Why Rhodes? Well, the rhetors are surely of the Rhodes school, which trained up Cicero and Caesar. That training was in the elaborate ‘Oriental’ school, to which Nogueira’s orientalising poem belongs. Of course, Molo of Rhodes is not the poem’s source, for it drew on Heredia’s sonnet ‘Artemis’ for its ancient-world savagery, on Rilke’s ‘Duino Elegy 5’ for its thumping dactyls, and itself belongs to an Alexandrian genre, the epyllion, whose best-known exponent is Catullus (Poem 64). Nogueira raids the larder of literature past without inhibition, knowing, like the Alexandrian poets, that its fragments can be ‘shored up against’ our ruins.

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