Corsino Fortes

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Corsino Fortes
Born (1933-02-14)14 February 1933
Mindelo, Cape Verde
Died 24 July 2015(2015-07-24) (aged 82)
Mindelo, Cape Verde
Nationality Cape Verdean
Occupation writer, poet, politician and diplomat

Corsino António Fortes (14 February 1933 – 24 July 2015) was a Cape Verdean writer, poet and diplomat. He served as the first Ambassador of Cape Verde to Portugal from 1975 until 1981 following his country's independence.[1]


Fortes was born in Mindelo on Cape Verde's São Vicente island in 1933.[1] He is a graduate in law of the University of Lisbon (1966), chaired the Association of Cape Verde Writers (2003-2006)[2] and is the author of some of the most significant works of Cape Verdean literature. He has worked as a teacher and a lawyer and he served as Cape Verde's ambassador to Portugal. He was a judge in Angola in the capital Luanda and Benguela and joined several governments in the Cape Verde Republic.[3] He represented the PAICV.

Corsino Fortes's first book Pão & Fonema (Bread & Phoneme),[4] which appeared in 1974, made an immediate impact. 1974 was a momentous year for Portugal and its African colonies as it was the year in which the authoritarian Estado Novo regime was overthrown, an act which began the process that led to the decolonisation of the Cape Verde Islands in 1975. Not long after he was the first Cape Verdean ambassador to Portugal for a year.[5] He became the first ever Cape Verdean ambassador to France on August 25, 1976[6] and served until December 2, 1981 which was succeeded by André Corsino Tolentino.

When Corsino Fortes was deputy secretary to the Prime MInister and Minister of Social Communications, he inspired a television model of Iceland in which television stations existed and operated in small cities and proved the experimental mode for the country's model, a few years before RTC started television broadcasting in 1997.

After Pão & Fonema he published Arvore e Tambor (Tree and Drum) in 1986. Both Pão e Fonema and Árvore e Tambor expressed a new conscience of reality in Cape Verde and a new traditional and cultural works on the archipelago.[7] He finished what he had long seen as a trilogy in 2001 with Pedras de Sol & Substância which was collected with the previous two books under the title A Cabeça Calva de Deus (The bald head of God),[8][9] they were sagas on the freedom to the people.[10] Sinos de Silencio was his very last book published in 2015.

In the final years of his life, he was interviewed along with Tomé Varela da Silva on December 3, 2008 in Nós Fora dos Eixos,[11] later by RTC, the national television network in February 2010,[12] later at a Brazilian university with Christina Ramalho in September 26, 2010[7] and by the country's major weekly newspaper A Semana in October 2013.[13] Cosino Fortes died in Mindelo, Cape Verde, on July 24, 2015, at the age of 82.[1][14][15] He was survived by three children.


  • Pão & Fonema (1974)
  • Árvore & Tombor (1986)
  • Pedras de Sol & Substância (2001)
  • A cabeça calva de Deus (2001)
  • Sinos de Silencio (2015)

Some of his poems are a part of the Tertúlia poem collection featuring poems made by other poets.

Two of his poems De boca a barlavento (The Barlavento Mouth) and De boca concêntrica na roda do sol can be found on the CD Poesia de Cabo Verde e Sete Poemas de Sebastião da Gama (2007) by Afonso Dias[16]


  1. ^ a b c Loja Neves, António (2015-07-24). "Morreu o poeta Corsino Fortes". Expresso. Retrieved 2015-07-29. 
  2. ^ "Corsino Fortes e sua poética semeadora da "cabeça calva de Deus"" (in Portuguese). Buala. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Tatiana de F. Alves Moysés, Pão & Fonema : um grito épico na literatura africana" (in Portuguese). Nau Literária. Revista eletrônica de crítica e teoria de literaturas (Electronic Review of Literary Critics and Theories) (Porto Alegre), volume 4, no. 1, January–June 2008. 
  5. ^ "Lisboa testemunhou um sentido adeus a Aristides Pereira" (in Portuguese). Embassy of Cape Verde in Lisbon Portugal. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Remise de lettres de créance" (in French). JORF. 27 August 1976. p. 5164. 
  7. ^ a b "A obra poética de Corsino Fortes: identidade e presença no panorama literário internacional" [Poetic Works by Corsino Fortes: Identity and Presence at the International Literary Panorama]. A Semana (in Portuguese). September 24, 2010. Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
  8. ^ "Selected Poems by Corsino Fortes". Archipelago Books. 
  9. ^ "Selected Poems by Corsino Fontes". Penguin Random House. 
  10. ^ Revista Sábado (Saturday Review), no. 587, 30 July - 5 August 2015
  11. ^ "Entrevista com os escritores caboverdianos Corsino Fortes e Tomé Varela: quando a Literatura anda de mãos dadas com a Educação" (in Portuguese). Interview with Nós Fora dos Eixos. 3 December 2008. 
  12. ^ "Interview with Corsino Fontes" (in Portuguese). RTC. February 11, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Corsino Fortes: "Cabo Verde possui o mérito incontestável de haver produzido grandes literatos". A Semana (in Portuguese). 6 October 2015. 
  14. ^ "Poet Corsino Fontes Passes Away in Mindelo". A Semana. 24 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "Morreu o nosso Poeta. Morreu Corsino Fortes". Expresso das Ilhas. 24 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "Objectos do quotidiano de Cabo Verde mostram-se em Lisboa na "Casa Fernando Pessoa"". A Semana. 25 June 2007. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Michel Laban, Cabo Verde : encontro com escritores, vol. 2, Fundação Eng. António de Almeida, Porto, 1992 ISBN 972-9194-25-4
  • Manuel Veiga, Insularité et littérature aux îles du Cap-Vert (translated into Portuguese by Elisa Silva Andrade), Karthala, Paris, 1997, p. 266 ISBN 2-86537-797-0

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Position created
Cape Verdean ambassador to France
Succeeded by
André Corsino Tolentino