Ferreira Gullar

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Ferreira Gullar in 2009

Ferreira Gullar is the pen name for José Ribamar Ferreira (born September 10, 1930), a Brazilian poet, playwright, essayist, art critic, and television writer. In 1959, he was instrumental in the formation of the Neo-Concrete Movement.

Influence of Neo-Concretes[edit]

The Neo-Concrete Manifesto[1] was written in 1959 by Gullar and begins:

We use the term "neo-concrete" to differentiate ourselves from those committed to non-figurative "geometric" art (neoplasticism, constructivism, suprematism, the school of Ulm) and particularly the kind of concrete art that is influenced by a dangerously acute rationalism. In the light of their artistic experience, the painters, sculptors, engravers and writers participating in this first neo-concrete exhibition came to the conclusion that it was necessary to evaluate the theoretical principles on which concrete art has been founded, none of which offers a rationale for the expressive potential they feel their art contains.

As seen in this excerpt, the Neo-Concrete Movement seeks to move beyond the Concrete Artist’s ideal of mathematical purity in art and embrace phenomenology. Gullar continues on in his manifesto to call for an artwork that “amounts to more than the sum of its constituent elements; something which analysis may break down into various elements but which can only be understood phenomenologically.”[2] The Neo-Concretists believed artworks should interact with the spectator and make the spectator more aware of his or her physical body and metaphysical existence. It is only with the participation of the spectator that the artwork becomes complete.

Early life, "Poema Sujo" and exile[edit]

Ferreira Gullar was born in São Luís, Maranhão, Northeast Brazil. He was exiled by the Brazilian dictatorship that lasted from 1964 to 1985.

In 1975, while living in Chile, Gullar wrote his best-known work, "Poema Sujo" ("Dirty Poem" in English), in which he attributes his decision to stop writing poetry to the increasing persecution of exiles, many of whom were found dead, and to hypothetical thoughts about his own death. He spent months writing the more than 2,000 verses that constitute the poem. "Dirty Poem" draws on his memories of childhood and adolescence in São Luís, Maranhão, and his anguish at being far from his homeland.

Gullar read the poem at Augusto Boal's house in Buenos Aires during a meeting organized by Vinicius de Moraes. The reading, recorded on tape, became well-known among Brazilian intellectuals, who tried to guarantee[clarification needed] Gullar's return to Brazil in 1977, where he continued writing for newspapers and publishing books. Today, Gullar writes a weekly column in Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, published on Sundays.[3]


Gullar was considered one of the most influential Brazilians of the 20th century by Época magazine,[4] and was awarded the Jabuti Prize for best fiction book in 2007.[5] The magazine recalls its critical stance in opinion articles about the populism of former President Lula da Silva, posted in national newspaper Folha de S.Paulo.[6]

In October 9, 2014, Gullar was elected as a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.[7]


  • Um pouco acima do chão, 1949
  • A luta corporal, 1954
  • Poemas, 1958
  • João Boa-Morte, cabra marcado para morrer (cordel), 1962
  • Quem matou Aparecida? (cordel), 1962
  • A luta corporal e novos poemas, 1966
  • História de um valente, (cordel, na clandestinidade, como João Salgueiro), 1966
  • Por você por mim, 1968
  • Dentro da noite veloz, 1975
  • Poema sujo, 1976
  • Na vertigem do dia, 1980
  • Crime na flora ou Ordem e progresso, 1986
  • Barulhos, 1987
  • O formigueiro, 1991
  • Muitas vozes, 1999
  • Antologia poética, 1977
  • Toda poesia, 1980
  • Ferreira Gullar - seleção de Beth Brait, 1981
  • Os melhores poemas de Ferreira Gullar - seleção de Alfredo Bosi, 1983
  • Poemas escolhidos, 1989
Short stories
  • Gamação, 1996
  • Cidades inventadas, 1997
  • Um rubi no umbigo, 1979
  • A estranha vida banal, 1989
  • O menino e o arco-íris, 2001
  • Rabo de foguete - Os anos de exílio, 1998
  • Teoria do não-objeto, 1959
  • Cultura posta em questão, 1965
  • Vanguarda e subdesenvolvimento, 1969
  • Augusto do Anjos ou Vida e morte nordestina, 1977
  • Tentativa de compreensão: arte concreta, arte neoconcreta - Uma contribuição brasileira, 1977
  • Uma luz no chão, 1978
  • Sobre arte, 1983
  • Etapas da arte contemporânea: do cubismo à arte neoconcreta, 1985
  • Indagações de hoje, 1989
  • Argumentação contra a morte da arte, 1993
  • O Grupo Frente e a reação neoconcreta, 1998
  • Cultura posta em questão/Vanguarda e subdesenvolvimento, 2002
  • Rembrandt, 2002
  • Relâmpagos, 2003
  • Araponga - 1990/1991 (Rede Globo) - colaborador
  • Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos - 1998 (Rede Globo) - colaborador
  • Irmãos Coragem - 1995 (Rede Globo) - colaborador


  1. ^ [1] Archived April 20, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Gullar, Ferreira. “Neo-Concrete Manifesto.” History of Modern Latin American Art Course Reader. Spokane: Whitworth University, 2014.
  3. ^ "Gullar's column at Folha's website". .folha.uol.com.br. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  4. ^ "Época - NOTÍCIAS - Os 100 brasileiros mais influentes de 2009". revistaepoca.globo.com. Retrieved 20 December 2009. 
  5. ^ Seu nome. "Cidade suja". Tribuna do Norte. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  6. ^   . "Folha de S.Paulo - Painel do Leitor - Leitor critica artigo de Ferreira Gullar sobre popularidade de Lula - 02/01/2013". Folha.uol.com.br. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  7. ^ Torres, Lívia (9 October 2014). "Ferreira Gullar é eleito para a Academia Brasileira de Letras". G1. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 

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