A feature by Caio Camargo
Chico Buarque has become a living icon of Brazilian culture. For his seventieth birthday, he was the subject of countless homages and retrospectives, with an admiring piece on nearly every media outlet and birthday greetings and messages from a who’s-who of recording artists and other assorted personalities. The only notably absent voice was from the man himself. From the (relatively rare) interviews he grants, it is clear that he never felt comfortable in the shoes of his legend. Chico seems to make a point to puncture the inflated image, to paint himself as just a guy devoted to his art, who also happens to love soccer and going to the beach. But there is hardly any escape from the fact that he remains, after a decades-spanning career, a defining cultural touchstone. His work bears a great sense of history and politics, a connection to the land of his birth so strong that it is difficult to imagine Chico without Brazil, and impossible to imagine Brazil without Chico . . .
A feature by CJ Evans
The closing lines of Clarice Lispector's novel The Hour of the Star open a fascinating conversation about the Brazilian author's transgressive and hugely influential life, as a public literary figure and as a private person. Her works have inspired an astonishing range of artists, from novelist Colm Tóibín to film director Pedro Almodóvar. Here we join two of Lispector’s translators, Idra Novey and Katrina Dodson, and acclaimed writers Micheline Aharonian Marcom and Hector Tobar for a lively, 80-minute exploration of the infamous life and dazzling work of one of the twentieth century’s great innovators . . .
A feature hosted by Sarah Gerard
For Brazilian writer Hilda Hilst, writing was a continuous process of transcendence without ever reaching the transcendent; a radical subjugation of all traditional or seemingly “correct” modes of thought. A prodigious student throughout her life, she wrote in part to engage and challenge world thinkers, and drew from an incredibly wide set of traditions and fields of thought, including psychoanalysis, spiritism, Gnosticism, EVP (or ESP), pure mathematics and philosophy, biology, astronomy, and quantum physics. Her prose is ludic and polyphonic—physical and titillating—and often challenges a reader’s notions of what is sexually “appropriate.” This roundtable on Hilst is convened on the occasion of the translation and publication into English of three of her novels in less than two years by the American publishers Nightboat Books, in collaboration with A Bolha Editora, and Melville House. Our panel gathers six authorities on Hilst’s work, including four of her English-language translators and two of her publishers . . .