A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems
By: Fernando Pessoa
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
This is the largest and richest volume of poetry by Pessoa available in English. It includes generous selections from the three poetic alter egos that the Portuguese writer dubbed “heteronyms” – Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis and Alvaro de Campos – and from the vast and varied work he wrote under his own name.
This book has been following me around the internet–on Goodreads, on the Book Depository whenever I’m on there–so at long last I caved and picked up the book when I bought a whole bunch of poetry books earlier in the autumn season. I figured why not, could read some more books and works written by Portuguese authors, ad I was curious that this was considered the largest collection available from this poet in English. So my curiosity was piqued enough.
Unfortunately his poetry isn’t quite my type. I can see why he intrigued many readers over the years, his poems are quite autobiographical in that he puts to words the thoughts that come to his mind. And the themes and structures that authors and poets in his time were playing around with can definitely be found in these pages, both the ideas and the way he conveys them. There’s some mirroring in some of his poems, repetition…Some of his poems are told like a story, a conversational narrative. There were a few poems that stood out for me, but for the most part I just could not connect with his poems. They reminded me of stream of consciousness or post-modern works that I never could quite enjoy.
So in the end, whilst I appreciated that I finally got around to reading his works, I didn’t enjoy it or connected with it as much as I thought I would. Maybe something was lost in translation, I’m not sure.