Frederick Williams, retired professor of Portuguese at BYU, has been invited as an honored guest to the 8th Annual Macau (China) Arts Festival, March 15-24, 2019. This festival honors three poets born one hundred years ago, including Portuguese poet Jorge de Sena (1919-1978). Festival organizers commend Dr. Williams’s publications on Jorge de Sena, including Jorge de Sena: 100 Poems and More, published by BYU Studies. BYU Studies joins in recognizing Dr. Williams for his groundbreaking work in advancing and advocating Portuguese poetry for English speakers.
Dr. Williams will speak on Jorge de Sena; on his various translations of Portuguese poets; and on his own poetry taken from A Delightful Journey (2013) that includes poems from travels in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America. Dr. Williams will also present a video he created, “Jorge de Sena Reads His Own Poetry,” which includes a photographic biography, an interview, and then de Sena’s reading of his poems in Portuguese and Williams in English translation.
Dr. Williams, a grandson twice removed and namesake of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s counselor in the First Presidency, received a BA in Hispanic civilization from Brigham Young University (1965) and an MA and PhD in Portuguese studies with a Spanish minor from the University of Wisconsin (1967, 1970). For twenty-seven years, he was a professor of literature and cultural history written in Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California (UCLA and UCSB), chairman of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese for seven years (UCSB), director of the Jorge de Sena Center for Portuguese Studies for four years (UCSB), and for a year directed the University of California system-wide study center at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. He has published over fifty articles, most on Luso-Brazilian topics, and twenty-six volumes (with special emphasis on the nineteenth-century Brazilian poet Sousândrade and twentieth-century Portuguese poet Jorge de Sena).
Professor Williams joined the faculty of Brigham Young University in 1997. During his twenty years of teaching and researching at BYU, he translated into English the major poets from all eight countries and two regions of the world whose official language is Portuguese (over a thousand poems) and published them in bilingual volumes through BYU Studies, linked below. These publications allow the English reader an opportunity to savor the beauty, richness, and diversity found in Portuguese poetry. Williams served as mission president in São Paulo with his wife, Carol (a professionally trained coloratura soprano who sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for seven years). They also served as president and matron of the Recife Brazil Temple.
Dr. Williams is the author of “The Rise and Fall of Portugal's Maritime Empire, a Cautionary Tale?” in BYU Studies Quarterly 57, no. 2.
He compiled, translated, and commented on Portuguese poets in his books: