Rosa Alice Branco: writing, dogs, writing

“Writing is a dog who yells at the door that opens / To pamper him, rolls him by the fireplace with great bone and chases him away, even if / at night, and freezes the butcher of snow / His jaws.” (pg. 9). Thus begins this Rosa Alice Branco book, placing her hair under the sign of some monster (the dog in this case), in what can be read as one of the most recent constants of current Portuguese poetry, namely: it explores, from animal symbolism, what the animals say in poetry, the meanings of writing the poem itself.

From Rilke’s tiger to Octavio Paz’s salamander, from Poe’s crow to Morrison’s eels, and from Blake’s tiger to the poet’s depiction as cats, or the observer of history (the birds of Costafrida, for example, or the horse in Rosa Ramos, this one is from horse cycle, where the image of chivalry serves to express sexy, stormy poetry, a hint that wants to be the impetus for a revolution in the way of looking), an entire tradition is built around animals, or some animal that carries with it a certain symbolism conducive to investigations into existence and language. The subject of poetry, language, writing, or the various writings that make up poetry, is a clear fact when reading these poems, and this is what is not disputed. But there is something new in this book that is worth revealing.

Unveiled in 1988, Rosa Alice Branco offers us in this new book one of the most exciting insights into poetry from the very point it seems to deny, or if not, to legitimize it: the naive, the terrible, the luxurious and the humble. between animal and writing. dog love is a happy title, a very fruitful discovery of language, because, beginning with the investigations of the zoologist Kenrado Lorenz, a collection of poems has been created which sums up a theme of poetry: love, but now seen from the perspective of the dog, that is, the devotion that the dog has to the human animal, is perhaps more Love forms generosity, because nothing can be expected (and the dog expects nothing) from that sordid little earthly animal that is the beast of man.

Thus Rosa Alice Branco expresses two concepts: love and cruelty, where Lorenz’s engravings – always these and not others – create an atmosphere conducive to contemplation. Rosa Alice Branco does not hide her interest in ethology (animal behaviour), in a verifiable comparison with human behaviour. If it is true that ideas are not enough for poetry, then I believe that one of the keys to Rosa Alice Branco’s great poetry lies precisely in the supposition that, behind a particular discourse, a particular experience of long hair and a message, what matters to her is he/she is the idea(s), in a kind of Reflection of the program in many modern poetry.

Thus, it is the idea of ​​predation that incites the writing of the book: a predatory and omnivorous writing that is explicitly reflected in the long verse, in a certain associative power of the images: “The dog is on its way to hard-to-chew words,” Rosa Alice writes. Numbered, in a total of 44 poems (as symbolic numbers?), there are poems that combine this idea of ​​plunder with what seems to me to be a bubbly way of working with grammar and images.

In poem 36, after another Lorenz inscription where the appearance that animals exchange among themselves in extreme cases is mentioned, there are predatory verses moved by a very rare rhetorical force: I believe in love / at first sight. Even in the opposite direction you look at me / As if I am the first water, I reach / Thirsty and yet you do not dare to drink it / For fear that I am finished. We know there are no sources and no spurious mutation but no one is running the HQ in the same way. (p. 58). A certain atmosphere of Ramos-Rosian runs through Rosa Alice’s poetry, despite the many metaphors we find in a poet green steering wheel Can not verify itself here.

But, in fact, Rosa Alice subverts this metaphorical charge, or rather, it changes its working systems and instead of diverting its message, it arrives even in drawing poems by Rosa Ramos or Nono Giudice (characters, novels, long hair) ), make the content literal. A typical example is, among others, Poem 38, where this literal expression of everyday life, with its dogs and pets, is expressed with a sadness that is hard to face: “I never know if I will open the gate when Kanzoada barks and if I muffle my voice and fall, the dog He has sharp teeth / Behind the camouflage. I may be extrapolating from people / I know or read in the papers, hedges fences / And the pages hide a flashing yellow traffic light / And we never know if we should turn green or be violent.” (p. 62).

In these verses, in fact, we see the transfer of the literal to the figurative, from the literal to the allusive: the subject doubts what actions to take (whether to open the door when dogs bark), whether calm and silence remains before the dog hiding with its sharp teeth.

However, the reference to Proust’s deconstruction of influence, and the intent of the text: forgery (“Proust was made in China”), the falsehood, the illusory effect, and echoes of Roy Bellow or Elias Kazan, what matters in this book by Rosa Alice Branco is that, at the bottom, the symbol: The dog, we see as the poem: a poem that turns away or approaches, turns or roars, invades the dwelling or remains equidistant. Some verses prove to me: “The dog runs to the back of the yard. Have fun at this impromptu Sunday restaurant […](p. 63), since God did not expect the bonds of friendship between man and dog, he also did not anticipate the bonds between man and the poem.

In this regard, Rosa Alice Branco emphasizes, figuratively, the superiority of images, of “how to say” the poetic text, even when it appears to be dogs. not. Or rather: it is not the love of dogs, devotion to dogs is at stake, but another sincerity: this devotion to seeing, to images (or to one image) that motivates this failed act of writing.

We can take back one of the most wonderful lines in this book and say, with Rosa Alice, how a dog’s devotion to man is like a poet’s devotion to the world of words: “Blood ties are so strong when you have / the house key, or diluted drugs, or alcohol, / metal, or cruelty Psychopathic only. (p. 67). This is equivalent to saying that the poem, like a jade dog, finds in everything a reason to exist and to be a ‘dog lover’, that is, the act of devour reading a book as someone devoured it, or the finger of the book. , or from reading, ceremonial: “If Lorenza gives meaning to sounds / which mimic poetry, it is because I follow him like a wolf dog, and a predator and stray beast howling at his door / The fierce reception of writing” (p. 71).

Pink Alice White
dog love
Assírio and Alvim, 80 pages, €14.40

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