Haroldo de Campos’s “planetary music for mortal ears”: A Latin American Postmodern Global Poetics

  • Odile Cisneros University of Alberta
Keywords: Crisantempo, Brazilian poetry, concrete poetry, postmodernism, translation, world literature


Crisantempo (1998), a late work by Haroldo de Campos, was published on the 40-year anniversary of the “Pilot Plan for Concrete Poetry.” Spanning decades of his own work and vast poetic and intellectual traditions, it acts not only as a summa but also as a final, inconclusive postscript to the controversial revolution effected in the late 1950s by the Noigandres group. The roads taken (and not taken) in this paradoxical and multifarious later work can be productively examined under the lens of “postmodernism.” Crisantempo, I argue, implicitly and explicitly articulates what I would term a Latin American “postmodern global” poetics. I follow Matei Calinescu’s theorization of postmodernism as a dismissal of notions of progress, universal finality, and radical innovation to analyze Campos’s logic of renovation and reconstructive dialogue with world literary traditions beyond concrete poetry’s Poundian paideuma.