Frederick Williams, retired professor of Portuguese at BYU, was 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.
He writes about his trip: “I spoke four times at different venues, including the University of Macau, which is not in Macau, but on the China side of the river. One of the other guests on the University of Macau panel was poet Francisco Conducto de Pina, who I’d translated and appears in Poets of Guinea-Bissau. The other panelist, poet Gisela Gasimiro, also from Guinea-Bissau, told me her aunt and cousin are members of the church, and that her cousin had served a mission in Cape Verde. The head librarian at the university, who goes by the name of Billy, told us he had visited BYU 10 years before.
“I was filmed and interviewed by TV, radio, and print outlets of Macau and Portugal. Nine of my books were showcased in the windows of the Portuguese Bookstore. Ponto Final, a Portuguese daily newspaper, featured Jorge de Sena on the cover and an article on me starting on page 8. It includes three photos: Sena (Portugal), Malangatana (Mozambique), and one of our BYU group in Mozambique with author Mia Couto. I appeared in two other issues, as well as in a bimonthly magazine, I think.
“On Sunday I presented a fireside on President Frederick G. Williams using PowerPoint to the members of the Macau district, made up of three branches: Portuguese-speaking, Chinese-speaking, and English-speaking. Only the English-speaking members showed up, and most of them are from the Philippines. The branch president, Eric Johnson, is a vice-president of the Sands Hotel-casino. All the members were so kind and enthusiastic, and it was a treat to attend church with them.
“Special kudos to Ricardo Pinto, the visionary organizer of the Festival and his hard-working staff. Kudos also to Catarina Vila Nova, the reporter for the Ponto Final who interviewed me twice. The Macanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and everyone else in Macau were as kind and solicitous as can be, always smiling always thoughtful. I had a marvelous time.”
Fred Williams with Irene Luo: Photo is of three mainland Chinese guests at the Macau Literary Festival on March 21, 2019, with their interpreter (Irene Luo, a professor of English at the University of Macau) seated in the middle holding the program open to the page with my photograph and profile in three languages (Chinese, Portuguese and English). I’m standing behind next to Dante, from the Philippines,who was the Festival driver who knew where the Church was because he knew members from the Philippines. I gave lots of people CDs of the Tabernacle Choir and Books of Mormon in three languages.
About Fred Williams at the church fireside: District President Eric Johnson wrote to Dr. Williams, “The members of the Macau China District were truly touched by the spiritual messages that you shared. We are so blessed by your presence. A quote that you shared in the fireside had a tremendous impact on me: “when you’re busy doing the lords work, work gets done; when you’re not busy, the work doesn’t get done.” -Dr. Williams. Thank you for your dedication to the lords work. The world is a better place for having you in it. God bless you Dr. Williams.”
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: