Solano Trindade, past and present

João José Rescala, Water, 1943.


Presentation of the book “Anthological Poems by Solano Trindade”

(To John Victor)

to live is to fight

In “Domestic Poetry”, Solano Trindade lyrically presents us with the pleasant place, the house, the safe space, of harmony, of affections, of nutrition, of pleasure, contrasting the territory of work, popularly called “fight”:

“My bookshelf
It's an onion coffin
And there are few books
Which I own.
But I have a garden
that gives colorful flowers
And the neighbor's dog
guard my house
and celebrates me
When I come home from the fight.”

There was no lack of struggle in the life of Solano Trindade, born poor and black in Recife, in 1918. A moving memory revives, in “Reincarnation”, his humble origins:

“D. Micaela
It was the midwife who picked me up
And announced my sex

My mother
Was a cigarette worker
From the Caxias Factory
born of indian
and African

My father
was a shoemaker
Specialist in Louis XV
Born white and African
I knew how to speak Nagô”

All the meanings of the word “fight” were experienced and exercised: work to guarantee subsistence and essential goods, study, for access to culture, that is, literature and the arts, and a lot of struggle against prejudices, more immediately the color, spreading out in varied dimensions, even reaching the space of the sacred, of African religions, persecuted and anathematized, yesterday and today. Even legalized, but only after 1976, the demonization campaign continues, moved by some religious confessions, especially evangelicals.

These struggles were common to black intellectuals, in Brazil and around the world. Luiz Gama (1830-82), poet and militant for the emancipation of black slaves in the XNUMXth century, writes in verse:

“In the land that rules the herd,
They deprive us even of thinking.”

Launch the challenge:

“I want the world staring at me to see,
a resounding Orpheus hairy,
Which Lira despised for petty.
To the sound of Marimba augusta”

The exercise of lyrical poetry is often forced to give way to the momentary demand of political militancy:

“I was going to talk about your body
from your hands
when I found out that the police had beaten a fellow
and the poem did not come out

We breathe the same air of Brecht's poetry:

“What times are these, when
talking about flowers is almost a crime.
For does it mean to be silent about so much injustice?”

Individual causes inevitably merged with collective causes. There is no solitary emancipation when poverty, oppression, prejudice are at stake. The transition from the “I” to the community “us” is inevitable, as we can read in “Meu canto de Guerra”: “my poem” becomes “poem of the crowd”.

many voices

Solano Trindade's poetry has a public vocation, which was realized on stage, integrated with music and dance, in shows, first by the Brazilian Folkloric Theater, which he created with his first wife, Margarida Trindade, and with Édison Carneiro (1950).

He traveled across lands, in Brazil and abroad, bringing his voice and his gesture, his living message. And incorporating these wanderings into the verses, the memory of spaces, humanized by the experiences of a child and an adult. Even the enumerations are colored with an emotional content. In the poem “There are hungry people”, the litany of stations on the Central do Brasil Railroad, which runs through the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. Read the parade of names of popular neighborhoods in Recife, in “Meu canto ao mar”.

The tribute to popular festivities and street cries recovers this first source of the oral culture of the Brazilian popular strata, strictly speaking current forms of communication between children and adults, illiterate and literate, in all peoples and in almost all historical moments.

Nowadays, we witness a new moment of this aesthetic unfolding, in the poems set to music by his grandson, Victor da Trindade, who realized the affinity of his grandfather's poetry with Samba and Hip-Hop, for example. Accustomed to silently reading poetry, we cannot lose sight of that dimension of those verses.

Graciliano Ramos writes, in prison memories:

“He did not suppose men to be good or bad: he considered them to be miserable, more or less reasonable, naturally slaves of their own interests. Undoubtedly: a petty reason, variable with circumstances, and natural selfishness: sleeping, eating, loving, reproducing; a little above that, evaluating paintings and books, inspiring respect, commanding”.

In place of "interests", we can read "needs". Solano's poetry conveys these needs beautifully. The need to love figures in a privileged place. This need synthesizes two dimensions, the individual and the collective of human life, as love and sex are vehicles of reproduction, continuity of the person, but also of humanity. We find in Solano masculine, male-female love, and companionship, communion of body and feeling, the compass of existence, here translated into musical terminology: “song”, “music”, “rhythm”.

(Love) “It was the song of my adolescence
It was the song of my happiness
It is the rhythm of my old age”

* Zenir Campos Reis (1944-2019) was a literary critic and professor of Brazilian Literature at FFLCH-USP. Author, among other books, of Augusto dos Anjos: poetry and prose (Rile up).



Anthological poems by Solano Trindade. Selection and introduction: Zenir Campos Reis. So Paulo: New Alexandria, 2007.

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