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Fernando Pessoa and Co.: Selected Poems

4.45 of 5 stars 4.45  ·  rating details  ·  497 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) - a poet who lived most his life in Lisbon, Portugal, and who died in obscurity there - has in recent years gained international recognition as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Now Richard Zenith has collected in a single volume all the major poetry of "one of the most extraordinary poetic talents the century has produced" ( ...more
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Published December 1st 2007 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc. (first published April 1st 1999)
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Ben Winch
The wind in the darkness howls
Its sound reaching ever farther.
The substance of my thought
Is that it cannot cease.

It seems the soul has a darkness
In which blows ever harder
A madness that derives
From wanting to understand.

The wind in the darkness rages,
Unable to free itself.
I’m a prisoner to my thought
As the wind is a prisoner to air.

(Richard Zenith, Pessoa & Co, 1998)

Rage in the dark, the wind –
Huge sound of on and on.
My thought has nothing in it
Except that it can’t die down.

The soul contain
M. Sarki
Though respected by many and thought by Harold Bloom to be "Whitman reborn", Pessoa leaves me cold and unfeeling. His poems are certainly easy to read and soft to the eye, but my indifference to his work has never faltered. It is proof positive to me at least that all of us are affected differently, that one size does not fit all, and that each of us brings a personal life experience to the pages we read that at times has so much of nothing to do with the world's countless others that the feelin ...more
This poem demonstrates Pessoa's art better than any words I may conjure.

Where There Are Roses
We Plant Doubt

Where there are roses we plant doubt.
Most of the meaning we glean is our own,
And forever not knowing, we ponder.
Foreign to us, capacious nature
Unrolls fields, open flowers, ripens
Fruits, and death arrives.
I'll only be right, if anyone is right,
When death at last confounds my mind
And I no longer see,
For we cannot find and should not find
The remote and profound explanation
For why it is we li
Reality is always
more or less
than what we want.
Only we are always
equal to ourselves.
I adore Pessoa's poems. I adore Pessoa's heteronyms. I adore his/their writing styles. It's just that I could use more heteronyms and more poems. So this four-star rating does not refer to Pessoa's work, rather on the book/collection itself. Regarding my adoration of his poems, on page 85 is one of my faves:

"They spoke to me of people, and of humanity.
But I've never seen people, or humanity.
I've seen various people, astonishingly dissimilar,
Each separated from the next by an unpeopled space."

This is an excellent book for people who are just discovering the richness of Pessoa's work. Although unknown to many readers prose and poetry of Pessoa deserve the priority on every poetry lover's bookshelf. He will amaze you, his heteronyms will confuse your mind and at the end you'll ask yourself... "How come I've never been introduced to this marvelous this poet whose honesty is sometimes schocking and to this solitary being ..
And you will think and think...yes..he does that well.
Sanjay Varma
Interesting sideshow to the mainstream modernist poets and thinkers, such as Pound, Breton, Marinetti. I say "sideshow" because I feel certain that Pessoa is an introvert and thrives in solitude. And so he could never live in Paris and attain the close camaraderie that the modernists felt for each other. And this means that his technique of writing via his heteronyms is primarily a natural expression of his introspection. It is not primarily a fragmentation of personality for a theory; it is not ...more
Dean Vincent
Soul-destroying existential, first person "autobiography," that is his life in thought, not the dates or details. Every time I try to read this I get bogged down in despair. Love it!
Dustyn Hessie
Feb 17, 2012 Dustyn Hessie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Thinkers
This is actually a very poor representation of Pessoa's work: either the translator butchered the poetry (which is highly probable) or Pessoa is just a much stronger prose writer than a poetry writer (also quite probable). In either case, I'd have to admit that this anthology leaves the demanding reader with quite a bit of a compromise: Should I trust Zenith or not? I mean, as far as Zenith's work on Pessoa goes, I am compelled to take the side of the artist and ask why this translator wastes so ...more
Terri Jacobson
This book is about the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Pessoa was a fascinating person. He wrote poems by different "heteronyms" or literary alter-egos. He had 72 different heteronyms under which he wrote. This book discusses the 3 major heteronyms, Alberto Caeiro, Ricardi Reis, and Alvano de Campos. It also gives some information about Pessoa himself. A fair number of poems by each entity is included. The book is well-written and really quite interesting. It's an excellent resource for anyone ...more
This is a good collection of poems for those who are Pessoa's beginner readers. There is a very helpful introduction as well as intro to each heteronym. This is a good start for those interested in the wonderful poetic philosophical world of Fernando Pessoa (and Co). I really enjoyed it and want to read more of his work.
I love Pessoa. The Book of Disquiet is one of my favourite books, especially because it has no fixed order to the sections.
I love Pessoa as Pessoa.
I love Pessoa as Ricardo Reis (read Saramago s wonderful book about him).
I love Pessoa as Alvaro de Campos (Newtons Binomial Theory)
I dont know Alberto Caeiro, but I want to.
He takes a while to get into, maybe.... but its worth it.
As one can expect, this is a selection from each of the major poetical works of Pessoa, including "Songbook," "Odes," "Keeper of the Sheep," and "Messages." However, I was disappointed to find that only seven poems from "Messages" were included. "Messages," I thought, should be given the most weight, if not translated in its entirety, since this is the only volume Pessoa himself published in his lifetime and contains the most important elements of his Portuguese national mythology. I am still lo ...more
zenith briefly notes that pessoa's poetry can seem lightweight to people who come at it expecting fancy tricks of technique and dense modernist verse...but I still find it hard to believe that he's *this* light. zenith seems to have had some desire to have made pessoa a european rumi for americans?? at anyrate, pessoa is a poet of philosophy, and drama. so this is still a good read, to meet the heteronyms. especially meet Caeiro and de Campos: they're sides of Whitmanesque poetry you'd never get ...more
Tough to get through, but the translation might not be as stellar as its ubiquity would lead one to believe. To be honest, the short biography of Pessoa in the introduction is the most interesting thing to me. His lifestory is fascinating, but the writing actually produced under his various heteronyms ranges significantly in quality as well as style. Book of Disquiet, his journal-like book under the name Bernardo Soares seems like it may be better.
Portugese nut who split his writing output into numerous "heteronyms"- fully fledged authors of their own with distinct viewpoints and writing styles who proceeded to debate and critique each other's work in the periodicals of his time. Very mellow and contemplative poetry written in a clear, unforced style. Credit to the editor/translator for a great selection (Pessoa was very prolific and scattered it seems)
Peter Crofts
This is a great collection of Pessoa's poetry. I'd go with the Penguin collection "A Little Larger Than The Universe" first simply because it is about twice the size and it is a few bucks cheaper (at least in Canada).

Check out my review of the Penguin edition for a more in depth review of Pessoa as a poet.
Edward Davis
Love the wiring, research and translation of Richard Zenith. Pessoa's work is phenomenal as well, but really enjoyed Zenith's writing style... Looking forward tomore of his translations of Pessoa's work from Portugese.
his writing style verges on the sublime - he teaches one to take more than just your own experiential style and live the perspective you wish to take.
Pessoa's proliferation of characters to write different forms of poetry is explored, presenting some stunning poems and singing lines.
if god almighty creates human, this introvert guy creates poets
This is my least favorite translation of Pessoa's works.
If there were only more stars to offer.
Dias Luisa
to read and continue reading
Faith Bradham
Jan 02, 2013 Faith Bradham is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
recommended by my Italian professor
Mel marked it as to-read
Apr 13, 2015
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  • The Selected Poetry
  • The Complete Posthumous Poetry
  • Flow Chart
  • A River Dies of Thirst: journals
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  • The Natural Order of Things
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  • Without End: New and Selected Poems
  • Collected Poems, 1920-1954
  • Selected Poems
  • The Random House Book of 20th Century French Poetry
  • New and Collected Poems: 1931-2001
  • Poems of Paul Celan
  • Poems of Nazım Hikmet
  • Poems New and Collected
  • Four Questions of Melancholy: New and Selected Poems
  • The Complete Poems
Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa was a poet and writer.

It is sometimes said that the four greatest Portuguese poets of modern times are Fernando Pessoa. The statement is possible since Pessoa, whose name means ‘person’ in Portuguese, had three alter egos who wrote in styles completely different from his own. In fact Pessoa wrote under dozens of names, but Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis and Álvaro de
More about Fernando Pessoa...
The Book of Disquiet Mensagem - Poemas esotéricos Poems of Fernando Pessoa The Collected Poems of Alberto Caeiro Poemas de Álvaro de Campos (Obra Poética IV)

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“Ah, the freshness in the face of leaving a task undone!
To be remiss is to be positively out in the country!
What a refuge it is to be completely unreliable!
I can breathe easier now that the appointments are behind me.
I missed them all, through deliberate negligence,
Having waited for the urge to go, which I knew wouldn’t come.
I’m free, and against organized, clothed society.
I’m naked and plunge into the water of my imagination.
It’s too late to be at either of the two meetings where I should have been at the same time,
Deliberately at the same time...
No matter, I’ll stay here dreaming verses and smiling in italics.
This spectator aspect of life is so amusing!
I can’t even light the next cigarette... If it’s an action,
It can wait for me, along with the others, in the nonmeeting called life.”
More quotes…