Paulo Teixeira

Portrait Paulo Teixeira
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Paulo Teixeira was born in Lourenço Marques – today Maputo, the capital of Mozambique – in 1962.  He studied Geography and Regional Planning at the New University in Lisbon, and since 1997 has been an editor at »Relãmpago«, a literary journal, as well as board member of the Luís Miguel Nava Foundation, which annually presents a literature prize.

Teixeira is considered one of the most important Portuguese poets of his generation.  His work has been translated into more than ten languages and published in several journals and anthologies.  His volume of poetry »Inventário e Despedida« (1991; Engl: Inventory and Farewell) was awarded the poetry prize by the Portuguese PEN Club, the Eça de Queirós prize by the City of Lisbon, and the Great Inapa Prize. His poems present a critical assessment of our times, fed by an arduous dialogue with the literary and cultural legacy of Europe.  This connection with history becomes evident in the frequent use of Latin, and is also apparent in the title of his books, such as »Arte da Memória« (1992; Engl: The Art of Memory) or »O Rapto de Europa« (1994; Engl: The Rape of Europa).  In his poems Teixeira insistently questions the value of European culture and the possibility of progress, and presents a pessimistic view of the future. Elegiac verses give expression to an apocalyptic fear of the end of Western civilisation.  The frequent use of the subjunctive, an almost obsessive examination of time and temporality, and the use of the lyrical »I« which is marked as different from the author, are characteristic features of his work. In 1999 the volume »Túmulo de Heróis Antigos« (Engl: Tomb of Ancient Heroes), a collection of thirty-two poems inspired by the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich, appeared.  The latest of his books so far is »Orbe: Poesia« (2005; Engl: Circle: Poetry), a volume of poetry.

For six years Teixeira has taught Creative Writing at high schools as part of a special programme led by the Portuguese Ministry of Education.  In 2005 he lived in Berlin as a literary guest of the DAAD.

Translator: Niki Graça

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