(Pedra de Toque): In his philosophy, Monstesquieu states that “the authors are fools who, not satisfied to annoy the generations of his age, insist in annoying the future generations.” What comes to your mind based on this statement?
(Léo de Carvalho): [Laughter] I think that we, in our age (we have a close identity, therefore I say our age) we don’t have this thing of annoyance, with our experience. The people in the future will have the same doubts we have today. Montesquieu was regrettable in this statement. The thinking of the ages is a repetition. Fifty years from now, people will be thinking the same things with other words. If the writer annoyed, it was in his mind. He thought he annoyed. I don’t think that I annoy by writing. This must be a disturbance of some authors.
(Pedra de Toque): Why don’t you seem to care too much about your writing? Do you take it to be secondary? And if so, what will you always consider as primary or a priority in life?
(Léo de Carvalho): I don’t think what I’ve written is secondary. It’s the moment. It’s what I meant in the previous question. People may live everything in the future. This doesn’t mean that my writing is overcome or less important. Things are more profitable for me today than at the time I wrote them. When I wrote, I thought it to be a foolishness. I wanted to live life. But writing was as if I were doing a reserve of happiness, I was writing a sort of diary, a biography. I could live my sexual life, my family life, my carnival life. In the carnival, I simply went for it. Sexual life had the right moment and time. But when I was with my relatives, I actually was with my relatives. Everything I did had a meaning. If I was writing today, it would be with a different tonality, there was a transformation. But I can’t write like then. It was something that didn’t change. I have no more patience. Anyway, the priority for me was painting. I know that my talent wasn’t about writing. My talent was painting. This is why I reprove of the painting I see them doing today.
(Pedra de Toque): How do you face loneliness today? What do you think when you observe the way you took it in its several facets, in the O Sol Escuro [The Dark Sun]?
(Léo de Carvalho): There’s no loneliness for me. There has never been. I mean, there was like this: it was the loneliness of other people. Not mine. It was never me. I felt that people had that loneliness. But they didn’t speak. They kept it in their breasts. It’s not of my nature, it’s not of my personality. I just stand in the shoes of other people, who didn’t have words to express themselves. There’s no loneliness today. People say: ‘Bullshit!! How come you don’t feel lonely? You remain in your activities and don’t feel loneliness?! How come?!’ What I actually feel is the lack of human warmth. It’s not about fetish. How can people feel the need to look for something like a fetish? Films, fool things, without you looking at the person’s eyes, feeling the perfume, the odor, no matter what [laughter], like we feel a tree. I feel the need of real things with real beings. Not even the automobile has ever given me pleasure. Because when it gave me once, the car kept swinging at the top of a hill. I’ve never felt anything for automobiles. My silence doesn’t mean loneliness. I just keep watching. Sometimes it’s more valuable to be in silence not to hurt anyone. When I write, I speak about what I want in life.
(Pedra de Toque): do you feel (or did you feel when you were writing more often) without interlocutor because you’ve always lived in a region that is financially, intellectually and culturally disqualified or would you also feel like this if you were, for instance in a Norwegian city?
(Léo de Carvalho): It’s the same thing. I would feel the same in Oslo, in New York, in Paris. I would have no interlocutor there, either. Irrespectively of being rich or poor, people don’t care about what we write. They pretend, they say ‘that’s nice’, ‘that’s beautiful’, but they don’t question, they don’t make any negative or positive criticism. I wanted the person to approach me and say anything about it. The philologist who transcribed my book allowed me to recognize my weakness in terms of grammar. I know where I make mistakes, but I could know more. I feel without interlocutor today, here and everywhere.
(Pedra de Toque): Which authors of rhymed verses do you remember? Where does your prose poetry, which is more common in your work, come from? Don’t you enjoy rhymed verses? Or rather, don’t you like other kinds of verses, the verses without metrics, for example, many by Carlos Drummond de Andrade, others by Manoel de Barros, etc.?
(Léo de Carvalho): It’s true, even without writing with rhymes, I believe there’s a certain resamblance with the traditional poetry, it makes sure I search for and suggest the verses. And I don’t discard Drummond, Augusto dos Anjos, Manuel Bandeira, there’re so many… I don’t mean what they write is not beautiful. It’s the age at which they wrote that dictated what they did. My choice for the prose poetry was unconscious. Actually, I don’t even know how I call my poem. When I was fifteen years old, I wrote my first text. I had adolescent friends, we took music systems through the way to school. Today we have the earphones. It’s when you feel something you don’t want to show to anyone, but that you know how great what you wrote is; I knew what I wrote was a promising thing. It would last decades; fifty years from now, it would have the same meaning. So I left small pieces of paper thrown in a box, and all that had some ground. I tied up the best texts for the future, but the small papers were ephemeral, I left them apart. Anyway, I like more prose. In general, I have more patience to read prose by others than verses. So I left the tied up books for a more distant future. Because I think they become more valuable with time. What wouldn’t shelter it very well was civilization. And the trend of the world is not civilizing itself more and more. [laughter]
(Pedra de Toque): What is the source, the raw material of your work? Some poets are bound to the experience lived by others, others to the idols in the art, others still to the observation of themselves, etc. How about you, how do you consider yourself among those poets? Which of these sources is predominant as an impulse of creation of your work?
(Léo de Carvalho): I think that, in what I write, I’ve never truly felt all that. I felt what other people were feeling. It was what I imagined to be exactly what they were feeling, as if I was living the situations. But fully aware that I was far from that all. It’s all a kind of alien feeling and I don’t even know what would be the words those people would use. I don’t speak about my own life, my own sexuality; it’s the story of another person as though as I was him or her. Then, my ego doesn’t matter. And I’ve never spoken about it, can you believe it?
(Pedra de Toque): Do you intend to publish one more book? How would it be?
(Léo de Carvalho): It would be a book of chronicles, with those real characters of my childhood; by the way, very funny characters. To come soon.
(Pedra de Toque): What would you say to a neophyte in whom you considered a vigorous poetic propensity and who asked you what he should do and avoid to write like you in the O Sol Escuro?
(Léo de Carvalho): To use very popular words, nothing too mannered; it becomes easier to understand: what he hears from his mother, from his father, from his grandparents, his uncles; those who intend to write poetry, even if they are from a noble class, wouldn’t find it difficult to express in a language of any place. I used words in my poems and I don’t even remind their meaning anymore, so mannered they are. I regret it. What is to be avoided is repeating expressions, subjects, words. We get uncomfortable with too many repetitions in the same book. All needs to be as natural as a picture. I think a picture is natural. Because I keep the image in my mind, and it’s from the human mind to imagine. A picture is not only an artifice, anyway. That cover of O Sol Escuro I want to produce, is in my mind and it doesn’t change and is not supposed to change.
(Pedra de Toque): A tribute to Antônio Abujamra, what is life?
(Léo de Carvalho) [Laughter] I get so… Life is so wonderful, there’s nothing better than living, no matter how, even physically disabled, blind persons, it’s only a matter of knowing how to live that...
(Pedra de Toque): What is life?
I don’t know... It’s…
(Pedra de Toque): OK. Give us a hug which is the only false thing in this blog.
The book O Sol Escuro, by Léo de Carvalho, may be purchased through the Clube de Autores [Authors’ Club], www.clubedeautores.com.br.