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Christopher Daniels collaborating with Manifest Press

Award: $33,000 Literary Arts grant awarded in 2001

Published: August 2003

Bay Area poet and translator Christopher Daniels, Brazilian poet Josely Vianna Baptista, Baptista’s husband, visual artist Francisco Faria, and Manifest Press collaborated to create a challenging and rare bilingual book of contemporary Brazilian poetry and art, On the Shining Screen of the Eyelids—featuring 23 poems by Baptista with translations by Daniels, and illustrations by Faria. The project broke important literary ground in that Brazil’s contemporary poetic culture is little known in the United States.

Baptista and Faria describe their work as an “extension of the Latin American Neo-Baroque aesthetic,” Daniels explained, “Perhaps the most recognizable baroque poetic technique is the conceit:  the spinning of a concept throughout the body of a poem.” The poems also are visually deliberate, shaped within box-like forms, a practice that shows Baptista’s relationship to the Brazilian concrete poetry movement.

At the time of this grant award, Christopher Daniels had been translating Lusophone poetry steadily for six years and was known for his translations of the Portuguese modernist poet Fernando Pessoa.  Josely Vianna Baptista is a widely published and critically acclaimed poet, translator, and ethnopoeticist in Brazil. Francisco Faria, an internationally known visual artist, has collaborated with Baptista on three poetry collections and several installations.

Manifest Press’s mission is to publish powerful, innovative literature that was often ignored by commercial publishers.  It produced the biannual journal syllogism and such books as Beneath Bone by Chicana poet liz gonzález, The Idler’s Wheel by Avery Burns, and The Romanian Poems of Paul Celan (with Green Integer Press). The complexity of this international project, and the poems’ distinctive visual dimensions demanded that Carrie Laing Pickett, project editor, and Manifest Press’s co-editors work closely together in realizing the book’s design.