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Poems don’t necessarily ask for the creation of a sense of place. In Geografia by the Portuguese author Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, a significant number of poems, which are organised in sections, focus on particular locations, though. Others, on the other hand, are dedicated to fellow poets, to the writing of poetry and to social issues.
The beaches in Algarve were the source of inspiration for the first group of poems in the collection. The one that stands out the most is ‘Senhora da Rocha’. It can be read as a personification of a place, since it could either be about the beach itself or a woman who doesn’t enjoy her life.
Other locations mentioned in the poems are the Mediterranean and Brazil. Not only are cities in the region of the Mediterranean the main inspiration for various poems, but Sophia also focused on Ancient Gods and myths, such as Elektra and the Minotaur. From the couple of poems about Brazil, the one that caught my interest the most was ‘Poema de Helena Lanari’, which is about the sound of Brazilian Portuguese and its open vowels. There is also a poem about Manuel Bandeira, a Brazilian poet whom she was a fan of in her youth. Continue reading