Pedro Lino on translating Carlos de Assumpção

Pedro Lino

on translating Carlos de Assumpção

Once Black Lives Matter movements occurred in 2020, I realized I hadn’t yet done anything for the movement itself. As a Black poet myself, I knew I had to make a difference. Thus, this poem seemed to be the ideal way for me to make a personal contribution, given all that was happening in the world.

“Eclipse” has no punctuation marks at all, mostly due to the fact that Portuguese is a fairly fluid language. Since it is virtually impossible to understand the poem without punctuation marks in English, I did have to include certain commas, exclamation points and question marks to maintain its consistency and create a balance.

The poem talks about a man who was brought to the Americas as a slave and sought to rediscover his own personality and cultural dignity which was lost to the new way of life imposed upon him. Therefore, it was crucial to retain a questioning tone that reflects his identity, and so I found it important to write down question marks when needed.

The notions of both hope and despair occur throughout the poem, so adding commas was necessary for the English version, because this juxtaposition is inherent to the message the author wishes to convey.

about the author

Carlos de Assumpção (1927–) is a Brazilian author who mainly writes anti-racist poetry that promotes a greater inclusion of Black literature. A grandson of former slaves, he has employed literature as a form of activism for nearly seven decades, and his words of protest proclaiming racial equality have achieved national recognition. Assumpção’s writings evoke a colloquial, yet concrete, vernacular form of speech.

about the translator

Pedro Lino is a senior majoring in history at São Paulo State University, Brazil. He is a true “logophile” (someone who loves words) and a polyglot who doesn’t talk all that often, but sure does translate a lot. Although he occasionally tries to stop writing, he just can’t seem to do so.

You can find some of Pedro’s poems at eMerge, the magazine of the Writers Colony House at Dairy Hollow.