Jorge de Sena: 100 Poems and More: A Bilingual Selection


Jorge de Sena: 100 Poems and More: A Bilingual Selection

Editor Frederick G. Williams

Jorge de Sena (1919–1978) was regarded by many as not only the premier contemporary poet of Portugal, but also the third of all time after Camões and Pessoa. He published more than a hundred books in a wide range of genres that included cultural studies, literary theory, essay, translation, criticism, drama, fiction, and poetry. His diverse formal training included Portugal’s naval academy, a Licentiate in civil engineering from the University of Oporto, and a Ph.D. in literature from the University of São Paulo. He taught at two universities in Brazil before coming to the United States in 1965, where he accepted a full professorship at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Then in 1970, he moved to the University of California at Santa Barbara where he was chair of two departments: Spanish and Portuguese, and Comparative Literature.

Like his predecessor the distinguished Abbé José Correa da Serra (the late eighteenth-century Portuguese diplomat and intellectual who made America his home for some nine years and of whom Thomas Jefferson said he was the “best digest of science in books, men, and things that I have ever met with”), Jorge de Sena became the mentor of an entire generation of young American scholars and educators. When the full story is told, it may be quite unbelievable what this one individual was able to accomplish for the advancement of Luso-Afro-Brazilian studies in little more than a decade of living in America.

Jorge de Sena: 100 Poems and More contains representative poems from each of his fourteen volumes of poetry, in both the original Portuguese as well as in English translation. There is also a useful introductory study, notes on each book of poetry, photographs, and an informative forward by his wife Mécia on Sena’s long association with Anglo-American letters.

The appendix contains a bibliographic listing of all of Sena’s publications and two studies: a personal reminiscence of his teaching style and mentoring while a professor in the United States, and an analysis of some of his most significant moral teachings. Also provided is a reference to access a color video of Jorge de Sena reading his own poetry that includes a photo-biographical introduction and an interview.