October 17, 2014 – UMass Lowell Jack and Stella Kerouac Center for the Public Humanities, the English Department and the Saab Center for Portuguese Culture and Research announce a lecture, “Whitman & Pessoa, ‘Brothers in the Universe,’” by Filipa Melo, Portuguese writer and journalist and the Fall 2014 Luso-American Foundation/College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Writer-in-Residence. The lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 3 p.m. in O’Leary Library, Room 478. The event is free and open to the public. Parking in Wilder Lot, across from 61 Wilder Street.
In 1915, while taking off his tie and unbuttoning his collar, because “you can’t let off steam with civilization looped around your neck,” the leading Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa affirms all his love for and understanding of Walt Whitman, whom he terms the great “singer of concrete absolutes.” Comprising more than 200 lines, written under the name of the heteronym Álvaro de Campos, the poem “Salutation to Walt Whitman” is the most vibrant testimony of a creative encounter between a Portuguese author and an American author—an encounter of modern sensitivity and sensibility. “Whitman & Pessoa, ‘Brothers in the Universe’” will examine Pessoa’s complex reading of Whitman, based on Pessoa’s notes on the margins of the Whitman volumes in his personal library, and the American poet’s influence on the creation of the heteronym Álvaro de Campos and the latter’s modernist poems.
Filipa Melo is the inaugural author in the Luso-American Foundation/College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Writer-in-Residence Program. Melo’s critically acclaimed novel Este é o meu corpo (This is My Body) has been translated into seven languages and her short stories have been published in several collections and anthologies both in Portugal and abroad. She also teaches creative writing and is the editor of OAsas sobre o Atlântico—Wings over the Atlantic, a collection of essays on the relationship between American and Portuguese literature. She is a well-known journalist, cultural and literary critic, and book reviewer, having worked at and contributed to some of Portugal’s most prestigious and widely read magazines, newspapers and literary supplements, including Visão, Grandes Reportagens, Tabacaria, Ler, Público, O Independente, Expresso and Sol. She has also been a writer for and host of cultural/literary programs on television, namely at Portuguese Public Television (RTP2) and SIC. Her work as a journalist has garnered prizes, among which the prestigious Prémio Nacional de Cultura Sampaio Bruno. While at UMass Lowell in Fall Semester 2014, Ms. Melo taught a master class in the English Department and gave public lectures.