The Poems of Renata Ferreira

Cover of Late Rapturous

Renata Ferreira’s poems were composed in the final years of Portugal’s fascist regime, exposing and subverting the government’s draconian edicts against women’s rights, sexual freedoms, political dissent, and progressive thought. She worked in the resistance passing hand-typed bulletins and banned literature throughout Lisbon, yet her poetry is unmistakably ardent, tender, fraught, erotic, and Sapphic. Presenting the poems of this Portuguese-American writer and detailing their surprising rediscovery in 2015, Frank X. Gaspar fuses genres, flouts borders, and brings to life a voice that had been silenced. As his inventive narrative unfolds, Gaspar's *heteronym emerges, whole and mysterious, offering up her history, her passions, and her art. (See Glimpses of Renata's life.)

*The term "heteronym(s)" was used by the Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa to refer to alternate personalities that he created and assumed while writing. The resulting work gave voice to the heteronym whose life history, point of view and writing style were distinct from Pessoa's. Pessoa used as many as 70 heteronyms, some of them in "dialogue with each other and with Pessoa himself in what he called "the theater of being" or "drama in people.""


"A fascinating saga weaving desire and memory, war and beauty, lies, truth, and the persistence of art. Fernando Pessoa and Jose Saramago are certainly among Gaspar’s kindred writers, but I’m also reminded of Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet—I feel that same total immersion. I’m swept away. The Poems of Renata Ferreira is gorgeous and witty, wildly smart—even the end notes are pure poetry!"   — Ellen Bass

"In his unique fashion, Frank X. Gaspar draws the margins of Atlantic culture closer: Salazar’s politics and the Carnation Revolution flow onto the shores of the Portuguese community of Provincetown and to Bohemian New York.  Along with the foreword and poems, a welter of notes extends the fictional romp with riddles of identity, history, myth, and the untraveled territories of the mind. The Poems of Renata Ferreira is vintage Gaspar—a deft and intriguing performance."     — Teresa Alves

"There are poems pulled from a well, others dropped from the sky. What fortune that Frank X. Gaspar was there with his basket to catch the poems of Renata Ferreira, work that through his fingers emerges as a meditation on eros as resistance, the dangers of country, and the ghost hand of artistic influence. A love story, an animal howl, The Poems of Renata Ferreira is a song of saudade that I never wanted to end."    — Lindsay Whalen

   "Frank Gaspar is a wonderfully gifted author who—luckily for us—happens to be Portuguese-American. Renata’s Poems remind me of the passion and outrage of Novas Cartas Portuguesas by the Three Marias. Like Novas Cartas, this is also a book that subverts genre, composed at it is of memoir, fiction, essay, notes, and, of course, Renata’s poetry. The result is a remarkable book that is sure to keep readers entertained for years to come."     — Antonio Ladeira


For a selection of Renata's poems from the book: see Verdad, Spring 2020 edition

The Poems of Renata Ferreira,  Frank X. Gaspar 

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