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Sheep's Vigil by a Fervent Person

Translated by Erin Moure

Written by Fernando Pessoa

  • 144 Pages
  • 9781770892972
  • POETRY / Canadian



Publication Date April 01, 2001

A temporary move to Toronto in the winter of 2000, a twisted ankle, an empty house -- all inspired Moure as she read Alberto Caeiro/Fernando Pessoa's classic long poem O Guardador de Rebanhos. For fun, she started to translate, altering tones and vocabularies. From the Portuguese countryside and roaming sheep of 1914, a 21st century Toronto emerged, its neighbourhoods still echoing the 1950s, their dips and hollows, hordes of wild cats, paved creeks. Her poem became a translation, a transcreation, the jubilant and irrepressible vigil of a fervent person. "Suddenly," says Moure impishly, "I had found my master." Caeiro's sheep were his thoughts and his thoughts, he claimed, were all sensations. Moure's sheep are stray cats and from her place in Caeiro's poetry, she creates a woman alive in an urban world where the rural has not vanished, where the archaic suffuses us even when we do not beckon it, and yet the present tense floods us fully.


Erin Moure
Erín Moure is one of Canada's most eminent and respected poets, and a translator from French, Spanish, Galician, and Portuguese. She is the author of seventeen books of poetry and a book of essays, and has received the Governor General's Literary Award, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, the A. M. Klein Prize, and has been a three-time finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize. Her recent works include the book-length poem The Unmemntioable and Insecession, a memoir and poetics that is a companion text to her translation of Chus Pato's biopoetics, Secession. Her twelve books of poetry in translation include Sheep's Vigil by a Fervent Person by Alberto Caeiro/Fernando Pessoa, Nicole Brossard's White Piano (co-translated with Robert Majzels), Rosalia de Castro's Galician Songs, and Galician poet Chus Pato's acclaimed m-Talá, Charenton, and Hordes of Writing.

Fernando Pessoa
Fernando Pessoa (1888 - 1935) was one of the great poets of the Portuguese language. Alberto Caeiro was one of his main heteronyms. O Guardador de Rebanhos was first published in full in 1946 by Edicoes Atica in Volume 3 of Pessoa's Obras Completas called Poesias de Alberto Caeiro.