ASTRID CABRAL, BRAZILIAN POET INSPIRED BY ANIMALS OF THE AMAZON REGION, AND ALEXIS LEVITIN, AMERICAN TRANSLATOR
NYS Writers Institute, October 8, 2008
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Standish Room, Science Library
Astrid Cabral, poet and environmentalist from the Amazonian region of Brazil, and Alexis Levitin, award-winning translator, will discuss “Cage” (2008), Cabral’s poetry collection about the animals of the Amazon, both real and imaginary, Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room, Science Library on the uptown campus. The event is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and is free and open to the public.
Astrid Cabral, poet and environmentalist from the Amazonian region of Brazil, and Alexis Levitin, award-winning translator, will discuss “Cage” (2006; English translation 2008), Cabral’s poetry collection about the animals of the Amazon, both real and imaginary.
One of Brazil’s leading contemporary poets, Astrid Cabral is a native of Manaus, the capital city of Amazonas State, and a key figure in the Amazonian cultural identity and recovery movement. She is the product of a city in which “nature in an exuberant manner coexisted with urban sophistication.” Her poems are firmly rooted in an Amazonian childhood populated by parrots, monkeys, turtles, bats, pink river dolphins, boa constrictors and other rainforest creatures. “Cage” is her first collection to appear in English.
Regarding “Cage,” she says, “The core of the book is the closeness I maintain with the animal world. I put myself on their level, seeing them within me, and when I do view them from the outside, I still am aware that there is something wild or savage in us humans, that we too are predators, and thus I restore our fellowship.”
In 1984, Cabral published well-received Portuguese translations of Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” and “Walden.” Her previous poetry collections include “Ponto de cruz” (1979), “Torna-viagem” (1981), “Lição de Alice: poemas 1980-83 (1986), “Visgo da terra” (1986), “Rês desgarrada” (1994), “De déu em déu” (1998) and “Rasos d’água” (2003). Her poems have appeared in “Pleiades,” “Runes,” “Sirena,” “Amazonian Literary Review,” “Calque,” and the 2003 anthology, “Fourteen Female Voices from Brazil.”
A past member of her country’s diplomatic corps, Cabral served for years at the Brazilian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, and at the Brazilian Consulate in Chicago. A mother of five, she is a professor emeritus of Portuguese Language and Brazilian Literature at the University of Brasilia, and currently makes her home in Rio de Janeiro.
Alexis Levitin, translator of “Cage” and Professor of English at SUNY Plattsburgh, has translated 25 Portuguese literary works into English, including poetry volumes by Eugénio de Andrade, Egito Gonçalves, Carlos de Oliveira, and the story collection “Soulstorm” by Clarice Lispector.
Levitin is the past recipient of numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Witter Bynner Foundation, and a past winner of the Fernando Pessoa Prize. It is worth noting, in connection with the new book’s preoccupation with animal life, that Levitin holds a B.A. in Zoology from Columbia University
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.