The “Ponte de Versos” will take place on January 17 (Tuesday), from 6 pm to 9 pm, at Blooks Botafogo, at Praia de Botafogo, 316 (Espaço Itaú de Cinema)
Ibis Libris Editora celebrated 22 years and 600 titles published in 2022, in addition to the 23 years of Ponte de Versos, an event that values national literature and new authors. In January, Ponte de Versos will feature Laura Esteves, Jorge Sá Earp and Jorge Ventura, alongside poet and editor Thereza Christina Rocque da Motta, founder of Ibis Libris Editora, who initially read authorial poems. Soon after, Dessert will open, with the reading of poems by all present, ending with Saideira, when each one reads another favorite short poem, or one of their own.
Ibis Libris organizes, monthly, the “Ponte de Versos”, a traditional literary event in Rio that, this year, celebrates 23 years. Since 1999, taking place fortnightly at the old Livraria Ponte de Tábuas, in Jardim Botânico, passing by Barteliê, in Ipanema, and Livraria DaConde, in Leblon, bringing together new and established poets, the “Ponte de Versos” has become part of the scene carioca poetry.
The event is divided into “Main Course”, where guest poets read for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, the “Dessert” is opened to the public, when each person can recite one poem at a time and, finally, the “Saideira”, with the reading of one more short poem each. This encouraged the production and dissemination of Brazilian and foreign poetry. The “Ponte de Versos” will take place on January 17 (Tuesday), from 6 pm to 9 pm, at Blooks Botafogo, at Praia de Botafogo, 316 (Espaço Itaú de Cinema). Free for all ages and free admission. Check out the interview!
Celebrating your 22 years as a publisher with the launch of a special 40th anniversary edition of the book “Joio & trigo”, you have acted as a great supporter of poetry in Rio. How do you see the participation of poetry in the city of Rio today?
I’ve been following the poetic movement in Rio de Janeiro since 1999, and in response, I saw the need to create a publishing house to publish these poets, whether new or veteran, but focusing mainly on unpublished books or the first books, which are the most difficult to publish for those who are starting. I have lived through several cycles of poetry, since 1980, in 2000 and now there is a new cycle that started in 2020. Every 20 years, a new generation of poets appears, as justified by the poet from Ceará Pedro Lyra in his book on the 60s Generation. The Ponte de Versos has been back since last year, having been started 24 years ago, that’s why. We need to receive the new poets and promote the old ones. Poetry lives on.
One of the criticisms that we have been hearing the most lately is the question of the influence of technology and other factors that could distance the new generations from closer contact with the traditional culture and poetry of Brazil, with which many of us have lived our entire lives. Do you believe that the public for poetry has changed in recent years?
Poetry is a universal language. Whether in Brazil or abroad, poets are brothers. I was in the US at a world conference that brought together poets from all over the world and, finally, we said the same thing, even though we spoke different languages. Poetry is always reborn, it always springs up where it needs to be, it sustains the strong in their moments of weakness. Poetry can say what we cannot say alone. The human being is the same. Today’s poetry audience is the same as before, but with renewed desires for self-knowledge. Reading poetry makes it possible to get to know each other, to recognize oneself through the poetry of the other, in addition to poetry itself. Poets are heralds today and always.
Throughout all these years that Ibis Libris Editora has been celebrating, you have already known and experienced several stories, both in fiction and based on everyday facts. What is the story that possibly marked you the most in these decades?
What always surprises me about literature in general are the coincidences. I always live incredible stories because of the books I make. That’s why I made a book to collect some of these stories, “The Life of Books”. I released the first volume in 2010 and the second in 2018. I started writing this book on a blog that later became a book. But the best story to date was the correction of ONE wrong word in the original of a 1,000-page book, which brought together several of the author’s plays. In one of them, he told the story of Pinocchio (a puppet or puppet) and the author, being from the Northeast, spelled the word “Puppeteer” as two i’s. Among the myriad corrections I needed to make to the book, this one got through, even though Word insisted on marking it in red. It was Saturday night, and tired of revising, I decided to go to the cinema at Espaço Itaú, in Botafogo, and in the gallery there is a bookshop that I have been going to for years, Blooks, and I went straight to the paperback section next to the window and picked up a copy of “Pinocchio”, by Carlo Collodi, in a box, recently released by Cosac Naif, translated by Ivo Barroso, and I opened the book at random. To my surprise, the word “Puppeteer” was in chapter 12 on page 83. I was startled, because he was telling me where there was an error in the book I was proofreading and had missed. Puppeteer is the same as Puppeteer, a word that the translator chose to talk about the same character. I was astounded. Like this, I’ve lived several stories as an editor. Books are paper beings, they speak to us through dreams or coincidences like this one.
Some of the novelties that are coming along with this new edition of “Joio & trigo” are behind-the-scenes photos and documents that bring her personal story, the city where she was born and what led her to want to embrace poetry. What was it like to revive these files after 40 years and how was the selection made to publish them?
First, I gathered the photos I could find. I even asked friends from that time if they had any to pass on to me, but they didn’t. I didn’t find many photos that are so well kept that I didn’t find them in the places where I looked. But profiling all the images, photos, diplomas, covers, invitations, letters, notes that I found provoked an immense emotion, of revisiting those moments 40 years ago, everything that led me to write that first book and what I did after it. I recorded these events in the Afterword. Without knowing it, this first book made me found a publisher of first books, knowing how important it is to have help at that time. The first book is what opens all the doors that come after. It is what indicates the path to follow. Because of that first book, which reached its fourth edition, I was able to evaluate it 40 years later. With each edition, I rediscovered its value. It was the first individual book, which showed me that I knew how to do this. I’ve published more than 20 poetry books, but the first one we never forget.
Among her motivations for new authors is also the issue of encouraging women to be strong, not only in literature but to face all the challenges and areas that they want to accomplish. Looking from this point of view, do you believe that there is still much evidence of machismo in literature, despite so many years of evolution?
Women have been fighting for centuries for their recognition as equals in relation to men. There are many women who “write like a man”, they say, and for this they are recognized among them. But male society has always excluded these women, to the point of denying access to women at the foundation of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, although they were side by side with them. The role of women is multiple. She excels as a housewife, writer, mother, wife, all at the same time. This is so here and abroad. The history of 19th century female authors who needed to sign with male pseudonyms to have their novels and short stories published is a disgrace. I recently translated such a book, 500 pages long, by 26 English-speaking short story writers, including Mary Shelley and Madame Blavatsky, called “More Deadly Than Men”, because, in horror stories, they were scarier than many authors. , but they did not receive the same recognition and were often accused of plagiarism, when, on certain occasions, it was the opposite that occurred. There are remnants of this bad habit in Brazil today, and worldwide women still have to fight for the right to study. Thus, giving them more space is enough for them to feel comfortable and produce what they need to produce.
Launched in 1982, this is the fourth edition of his first book. Looking at it from a personal point of view and especially in comparison to your entire trajectory in the literary market, does “Joio & trigo” still have the same meaning and original essence of it until today?
Yes, I only published the book when I knew it was ready. Only when I read it and didn’t want to change anything else. As long as I had a comma or word change, I knew the text could change. This process took seven months, after three months of writing the poems. When it was ready, I started producing, layout, cover, printing and launched in August 1982. The preparation of a book can take more or less than that, but it depends on our effort. The book has to say that it is ready, then everything collaborates for it to exist. I won printing 1,000 covers. I got the cover photo. I won the layout of the core of the book. I first printed 500 copies and then another 500 in 1983. In 2004, I launched the 3rd edition, another 500 copies. With each rereading, I found that I didn’t want to change anything about any of the poems. That was the result of my incessant revision, until I didn’t want to change anything else. A work has to be ready, it cannot be printed incomplete. So, it continues to have the same original meaning and essence to this day and, like poetry, it gains greater meaning with each reading.
Both in the 1st and in this 4th edition, there was always a guest to write the preface, in the 1st edition, it was Claudio Willer and, in this 4th, it is Álvaro Alves de Faria. How is your relationship with these two and why did you choose to bring them in to write the foreword?
I met Claudio Willer in 1981 and he was the calling card for all the poets I met afterwards, including Álvaro Alves de Faria, poet and journalist for Jovem Pan. Claudio Willer, who has just passed away at the age of 82 (1940-2023), was my master and guru within poetic learning, he guided the writing of my first book, ever since I invited him to write the preface. “Let’s watch this closely,” he said, and proceeded to give me several books to read, by T. S. Eliot, Murilo Mendes, Octavio Paz, Lautréamont, Paul Éluard, and André Breton, in addition to what he himself had published so far. For three months, he bombarded me with readings, conversations, events, films, plays, until New Year’s Eve 1982, when he took me to his friend Irco’s house, in the Guarapiranga Reserve, to spend a few days. There, I finished writing the last poems of “Joio & trigo”, 17 poems written over three days, which I called “Invenções do tempo”, while reading two books of poems by Éluard. It was an immersion. Then it took him two months to do the foreword, and six months later I released the book. He took the opportunity to do an essay on the poetry of the 80’s Generation to which I belonged. In 2021, talking to Álvaro about the new edition of my first book, he offered to write the preface for the 4th edition precisely because he knew the importance of re-edition of a poetry book in Brazil. He has known me for some time, I am also the editor of several of his books, it was a way of contributing to this edition having a corroboration, as “a promise that had been fulfilled”, according to the prediction of Olga Savary, who signed the text of back cover of the 1st edition of “Joio & trigo”, also presented by Willer. The three are part of the 60’s Generation that leveraged my generation of poets. We passed through Generation 2000 and now we are in the middle of Generation 2020. To present a book, we can only invite those who are part of the creation process and accompanied the writing of these poets. Álvaro is also the co-author of a book we wrote together in 2017: “My hand contains words I don’t write”. And I prefaced a book he wrote with Denise Emmer, at their request, published during the pandemic. They are collaborations between poets and friends in poetry.
In his opinion, does everyone have a good story that might deserve to be told in a book? How are true authors born?
Those are two long answers, but I’ll try to make it short. Everyone has a good story that deserves to be published, but it depends on how it is written. Not every good story is well told. Hence the importance of the editor, who will help this good story to also be well written. Writing fits into any profession, anyone can write their story, or tell the stories they know, but the question is not what, it’s how. Hence your second answer. True authors are born among those who are not so true, but everyone will live together for some time. The real ones stand out. Others pass, but there will always be more authors than readers for so many books. In time, the good and true authors will have all the readers they need for the majority to know their work. And only dedication points out the true authors. They will exist, despite everything, personal circumstances, all their difficulties, see Machado de Assis, Clarice Lispector, Manuel Bandeira, Cecília Meireles, Mario de Andrade, Nélida Piñon, and countless other authors who dedicated his life entirely to literature. Brazil has great writers. It is necessary to know them.
Follow Thereza Christina Rocque da Motta on Instagram