Carlos Drummond de Andrade

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Carlos Drummond de Andrade
Born(1902-10-31)October 31, 1902
Itabira, Minas Gerais, Brazil
DiedAugust 17, 1987(1987-08-17) (aged 84)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Literary movementModernism

Carlos Drummond de Andrade (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈkaʁluz dɾuˈmõ dʒi ɐ̃ˈdɾadʒi]) (October 31, 1902 – August 17, 1987) was a Brazilian poet and writer, considered by some as the greatest Brazilian poet of all time.[1][2]

He has become something of a national cultural symbol in Brazil, where his widely influential poem "Canção Amiga" ("Friendly Song") has been featured on the 50-cruzado novo bill.


Drummond was born in Itabira, a mining village in Minas Gerais in the southeastern region of Brazil. His parents were farmers belonging to old Brazilian families of mainly Portuguese origin.[3][4] He went to a school of pharmacy in Belo Horizonte, but never worked as a pharmacist after graduation, as he did not enjoy the career he chose. He worked as a civil servant for most of his life, eventually becoming director of the history for the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Service of Brazil. Though his earliest poems are formal and satirical, Drummond quickly adopted the new forms of Brazilian modernism that were evolving in the 1920s, incited by the work of Mário de Andrade (to whom he was not related). He would mingle speech fluent in elegance and derive truth about his surroundings, many times describing quotidian, normal aspects of life while achieving a fluidity of thought and speech. Drummond drifted towards communism at the start of World War II and took up the editorship of the Brazilian Communist Party's official newspaper, Tribuna Popular, but later abandoned the post due to disagreements over censorship, which Drummond staunchly opposed.[5]

Drummond's work is generally divided into several segments, which appear very markedly in each of his books. But this is somewhat misleading, since even in the midst of his everyday poems or his socialist, politicized poems, there appear creations which can be easily incorporated into his later metaphysical canon, and none of these styles is completely free of the others. There is surely much metaphysical content in even his most political poems.[citation needed][dubious ]

Manuel Bandeira and Carlos Drummond de Andrade, 1954. National Archives of Brazil

The most prominent of these later metaphysical poems is A Máquina do Mundo (The World's Machine). The poem deals with an anti-Faust referred to in the first person, who receives the visit of the aforementioned Machine, which stands for all possible knowledge, and the sum of the answers for all the questions which afflict men; in highly dramatic and baroque versification, the poem develops only for the anonymous subject to decline the offer of endless knowledge and proceed his gloomy path in the solitary road. It takes the renaissance allegory of the Machine of the World from Portugal's most esteemed poet, Luís de Camões, more precisely, from a canto at the end of his epic masterpiece Os Lusíadas.

One of those said segments have been found only after his death: deliberately erotic poetry. That type of poetry has been published in only one book, "Moça deitada na grama" (woman laid down in the grass) with the authorization and actual intervention by his son-in-law.[citation needed]

Statue of Carlos Drummond de Andrade by Copacabana Beach

Drummond is a favorite of American poets, a number of whom, including Mark Strand and Lloyd Schwartz, have translated his work. Later writers and critics have sometimes credited his relationship with Elizabeth Bishop, his first English language translator, as influential for his American reception, but though she admired him, Bishop claimed she barely even knew him. In an interview with George Starbuck in 1977, she said, "I didn't know him at all. He's supposed to be very shy. I'm supposed to be very shy. We've met once — on the sidewalk at night. We had just come out of the same restaurant, and he kissed my hand politely when we were introduced."[6]


Poem by Drummond de Andrade on a wall in Leiden

Drummond, as a writer of the modernist style, follows the writing mechanic proposed by Mário de Andrade and Oswald de Andrade; making use of free verse, and not depending on a fixed meter. In modernism, the predominant style which Drummond wrote in, styles were divided into lyrical and subjective or objective and concrete, Drummond would be part of the latter, similar to Oswald de Andrade.[citation needed]

Drummond was the first poet to assert himself after the premiere modernist of Brazil and created a unique style dominated by his writing. His work displays linguistic freedom and free verse. But it goes beyond that: "The work of Drummond reaches – as Fernando Pessoa, Jorge de Lima, Murilo Mendes, and Herberto Helder – a coefficient of loneliness that detached from the soil of history, leading the reader to an attitude-free of references, trademarks or ideological or prospective," said Alfredo Bosi (1994).[citation needed]

His poetry, according to Affonso Romano de Sant'Anna, can be divided into three parts:

  • I, greater than the world – marked by ironic poetry
  • I, lower than the world – marked by social poetry
  • I, equal to the world – covers the metaphysical poetry

In the late 1980s, his poetry began to become more erotic. O Amor Natural (Natural Love), a collection of erotic poems, was published posthumously. The book inspired the 1996 Dutch documentary film O Amor Natural.


On 31 October 2019, Google celebrated his 117th birthday with a Google Doodle.[7]


English translations[edit]

  • Souvenir of the Ancient World, translated by Mark Strand (Antaeus Editions, 1976)
  • Looking for Poetry: Poems by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Rafael Alberti, with Songs from the Quechua, translated by Mark Strand (Knopf, 2002)
  • Traveling in the Family : Selected Poems of Carlos Drummond de Andrade, edited by Thomas Colchie and Mark Strand (Random House, 1986)
  • The Minus Sign: Selected Poems, translated by Virginia de Araujo (Black Swan, 1980)
  • In the Middle of the Road; Selected Poems, translated by John A Nist (U of Arizona, 1965)
  • Multitudinous Heart: Selected Poems: A Bilingual Edition, translated by Richard Zenith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015)


  • Pontiero, Giovanni, (1982), review of The Minus Sign, in Cencrastus No. 9, Summer 1982, p. 47, ISSN 0264-0856

Further reading[edit]


  • Brazilian writers (encyclopedia) / Mônica Rector, ed. 2005
  • Seven Faces: Brazilian Poetry since Modernism / Charles A. Perrone, 1996
  • The Cambridge history of Latin American literature. Volume 3, Brazilian literature / Roberto González Echevarría., 1996
  • Tropical paths: essays on modern Brazilian literature / Randal Johnson., 1993
  • Brazilian literature: a research bibliography / David William Foster., 1990
  • The unquiet self: self and society in the poetry of Carlos Drummond de Andrade / Ricardo Sternberg., 1986
  • Carlos Drummond de Andrade and his generation : proceedings / Frederick G Williams., 1986
  • The poetry and poetics of Carlos Drummond de Andrade; diss. / John Gledson., 1979
  • The theme of human communication in the poetry of Carlos Drummond de Andrade, article / Mary Patricia O'Brien, 1970


  • Drummond cordial / Jerônimo Teixeira., 2005
  • A rima na poesia de Carlos Drummond de Andrade & outros ensaios / Hélcio de Andrade Martins., 2005
  • Drummond, a magia lúcida / Marlene de Castro Correia., 2002
  • Leituras de Drummond / Flávio Loureiro Chaves, 2002
  • Drummond: um olhar amoroso / Luzia de Maria, 2002
  • A prosa à luz da poesia em Carlos Drummond de Andrade / Regina Souza Vieira, 2002
  • Carlos Drummond de Andrade: a poética do cotidiano / Maria Veronica Aguilera, 2002
  • Drummond, poesia e experiência / Ivete Lara Camargos Walty, 2002
  • Drummond revisitado / Chantal Castelli, 2002
  • Coração partido: uma análise da poesia reflexiva de Drummond / Davi Arrigucci Júnior, 2002
  • Drummond: da rosa do povo à rosa das trevas / Vagner Camilo, 2001
  • Carlos Drummond de Andrade / Francisco Achcar, 2000
  • Ideologia e forma literária em Carlos Drummond de Andrade / Lucila Nogueira, 1990


  • Una poética de la despreocupación: modernidad e identidad en cuatro poetas latinoamericanos / Rafael Rodríguez, 2003
  • Drummond, el poeta en el tiempo / Affonso Romano de Sant'Anna, 2003
  • Las retoricas de la decadencia: Martí, Palés, Drummond / Maribel Roig, 2001
  • Estado de alerta y estado de inocencia : algunas reflexiones sobre la poesía y el arte / E Bayley, 1996
  • Manuel Bandeira, Cecilia Meireles, Carlos Drummond de Andrade / Cipriano S Vitureira, 1952


  1. ^ Garner,Dwight (3 July 2015). "Review:Multitudinous Heart:Newly translated poetry by Carlos Drummond de Andrade". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Carlos Drummond de Andrade: Biography and Poems | Brazilian Poetry". Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Usina de Letras".
  4. ^ "Drummond's Bloodline". Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  5. ^ Zenith, Richard (2015). Multitudinous Heart: Selected Poems: A Bilingual Edition. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. xx.
  6. ^ "article". 8 July 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Carlos Drummond de Andrade's 117th Birthday". Google. 31 October 2019.

External links[edit]