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This report is taken from PN Review 60, Volume 14 Number 4, March - April 1988.

Vision of Clarice Lispector Carlos Drummond De Andrade

In December it is the tenth anniversary of the death of Clarice Lispector in 1977, the same year her novel The Hour of the Star was published. Born in the Ukraine in 1925, Lispector was brought up in Recife, Brazil; she published her first novel in 1944 to critical acclaim, and was one of the most distinguished of contemporary Brazilian writers. It is fitting that she should be memorialized by Brazil's greatest twentieth-century poet, Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902-1987), in a poem from his volume Spring Discourse (1977).


Clarice
issued from some mystery and departed for another.

We cannot fathom its essence.
The mystery was not essential,
it was Clarice travelling inside.

It was Clarice stirring in the lowest depths,
where the word appears to find
its true meaning, portraying mankind.

What Clarice expressed, what Clarice
lived for us in the form of a story
in the form of a dream of a story
in the form of a dream of a dream of a story
(in the middle was there a cockroach
or an angel?)
we can neither repeat nor invent.
These are things, gems peculiar to Clarice
we use on loan. She is mistress of all.

Clarice was no cliché,
identity card or portrait.
Di Chirico painted her? Of course.
But the clearest portrait of Clarice
is obscured ...
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