The Brazilian poet Cora Coralina (pseudo name) published her first book at 76 years-old. She’s counted as one of Brazil’s greatest poets and short story writers. Nowadays, her childhood house, perched above the Rio Vermelho (Red River) is preserved as a museum and dedication to her works. You can read about the house built in the 18th century in Histórias da Casa Velha da Ponte (Stories of the Old House on the Bridge).
In 2017 director Renato Barbieri created a documentary on her life with reenactments recorded within the house and interviews with relatives and experts on Cora Coralina’s poetry. Rent or buy Cora Coralina – Todas as Vidas. For those learning Portuguese her works offer a selection of short texts to explore the language. An imaginative way to expand your Portuguese vocabulary.
The Museu Cora Coralina is located in Old Goiás (Goiás Velho) a World UNESCO Heritage Site. The Town of Old Goiás was built on the small hills around the mining industry and sits about 3 hours from Brasília, the current capital of Brazil. In the poem at the end of this post, Cora Coralina ponders her existence growing up in the turn of centuries, changes to Brazilian governance and transformation of rural life in Goiás.
Slide down/ up to see the English translation
Poem Não Sei (I Don’t Know) by Cora Coralina
Não sei se a vida é curta ou longa demais para nós.
Mas sei que nada do que vivemos tem sentido,
se não tocarmos o coração das pessoas.
Cora Coralina, Quem é Você?
Sou mulher como outra qualquer.
Venho do século passado
e trago comigo todas as idades.
Nasci numa rebaixa de serra
entre serras e morros.
“Longe de todos os lugares”.
Numa cidade de onde levaram
o ouro e deixaram as pedras.
Junto a estas decorreram
a minha infância e adolescência.
Aos meus anseios respondiam
as escarpas agrestes.
E eu fechada imensa serrania
que se azulava na distâncialongínqua.
Numa ânsia de vida eu abria
o vôo nas asas impossíveis
Venho do século passado.
Pertenço a uma geração
ponte, entre a libertação
dos escravos e o trabalhador livre.
Entre a monarquia
caída e a repúblicaque se instalava.
Todo o ranço do passado era
A brutalidade, a incompreensão,
a ignorância, o carrancismo.
By Cora Coralina
Cora Coralina, Who Are You?
I am a woman like any other,
I came from last century
and I brought with me all the ages.
I was born in the depletion of a mountain
Between the mountains and the hills.
“Far from everywhere”.
In a city from which they took
the gold and left the stones.
My childhood and adolescence took place
The jagged cliffs
responded to my desires.
And I immensely secluded in the highlands
that turned blue in the distance.
In a hunger for life I took
flight on the impossible wings
I come from last century.
I belong to a bridge
generation, between freedom
of the slaves and free work.
Between fallen monarchy
and the republic that installed itself.
All the rancidity of the past was
The brutality, the incomprehension,
the ignorance, the carrancism.
Translation Charlotte Markham