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Olavo Bilac

Olavo Brás Martins dos Guimarães Bilac (About this sound pronunciation born 16 December 1865, died 28 December 1918) was a Brazilian poet of the Parnassian school.

Considered one of the greatest poets ever to write in Portuguese, Bilac was a master at sculpting verses with carefully measured metre and rhythm while at the same time protecting them from appearing artificial. His poems seem natural and inspired even though they were carefully crafted for balanced shape and rhyme. He is widely regarded as a major poet in Brazilian literature.

Contents

Biography

Bilac was born in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He studied medicine at a university but quit in the fourth year. He also tried a course of law, which he also quit, in its first year. Bilac then turned to journalism and literature, to which he had dedicated his energies from an early age.

A political activist — he supported mandatory military service and the abolition of slavery — Bilac was pursued by authorities during the government of Floriano Peixoto, the second president of Brazil. He spent a few months in jail, and also went into hiding at a friend's house in another state. Bilac is the patron of the Brazilian Military Service.

Bilac was a founding member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras, the Brazilian Academy of Literature. Bilac was known for reading the most important literary works at the time and declaiming his own poems at social events. At the peak of his fame, he was one of the most popular authors of his country, having won the title of "Prince of Brazilian poets" in a contest launched by a magazine in 1907. He was also a formidable public speaker.

When he died in 1918, newspapers reported that his last words were "Give me coffee! I'm going to write!"

A school in São José dos Campos, in the state of São Paulo, is named after him.

Poetry

The name Olavo Braz Martins dos Guimarães Bilac has exactly twelve syllables, so is a line of Alexandrine verse. Devoted fans say Bilac was destined for poetry.

His most recurring poetic theme is undoubtedly stars. He was fascinated by the beauty of a starry sky, which is evident in a quite a number of his pieces. His hundreds of poems — most of which are in sonnet form — also speak about love, God, erotica, heroes, bandeirantes, Brazil, time, Greek mythology, and a plenitude of other themes.

Bilac was also the author of the lyrics for the Brazilian Flag Anthem.

Translation work

Olavo Bilac translated Wilhelm Busch's Max und Moritz into his native language, which he named Juca e Chico in Portuguese.

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Olavo Bilac

Olavo Bilac (16 December 186528 December 1918) was a Brazilian poet of the Parnassian school.

Unsourced

  • Dêem-me café, vou escrever!
    • Bilac's last words. Translation: "Fetch me coffee, I'm going to write!"

External links

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