Lota de Macedo Soares

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Lota de Macedo Soares
Maria Carlota Costallat de Macedo Soares

(1910-03-16)March 16, 1910
DiedSeptember 25, 1967(1967-09-25) (aged 59)

Maria Carlota Costallat de Macedo Soares (March 16, 1910 – September 25, 1967) was a well-connected Brazilian woman who became a well-known landscape designer and architect. Despite having no degree in either area,[1] she was invited by governor Carlos Lacerda to design and oversee the construction of Flamengo Park in Rio de Janeiro. She was born in Paris, France into a prominent, political family from Rio de Janeiro.

Lota, as she was known, had a relationship with the American poet Elizabeth Bishop from 1951 to 1967.[2] Bishop dedicated her 1965 volume of poems Questions of Travel to her. Their relationship is depicted in the Brazilian film Reaching for the Moon, based on the book Flores Raras e Banalíssimas (in English, Rare and Commonplace Flowers), by Carmen Lucia de Oliveira, as well as in the book The More I Owe You, by American author Michael Sledge.

In 1967, Soares joined Bishop in New York, after a period of extensive hospitalization for a nervous breakdown. The same day she arrived in New York, 19 September 1967, Soares took an overdose of tranquilizers. It is believed the problems with her work and her failing relationship with Elizabeth Bishop were what sent her over the edge. She died several days later.

Her relationship with Elizabeth Bishop and with the politician Carlos Lacerda, as well as her involvement in the 1964 Brazilian coup d'état, is the subject of the 2013 film Reaching for the Moon, directed by Bruno Barreto and starring Gloria Pires, and of Michael Sledge's 2010 novel The More I Owe You.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Millier, Brett (1992). Elizabeth Bishop Life and the Memory of It. Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 602. ISBN 0520203453.
  2. ^ "About Elizabeth Bishop". English.illinois.edu. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
  3. ^ "Questions of Travel". The New York Times, July 9, 2010.

Further reading[edit]

  • Lloyd Schwartz, "Elizabeth Bishop and Brazil," The New Yorker, September 30, 1991
  • Brett Millier, Elizabeth Bishop: Life and the Memory of It, University of California Press, 1995
  • Elizabeth Bishop, One Art: Letters. Ed. Robert Giroux (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1994).
  • Carmen L. Oliveira, Rare and Commonplace Flowers: The Story of Elizabeth Bishop and Lota de Macedo Soares, translated by Neil K. Besner, (Rutgers University Press, 2002); reviewed by Emily Nussbaum [1]
  • Schuma Schumacher and Érico Vital Brasil, eds. Dicionário Mulheres do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar Editora, 2000), pp. 335–336.
  • Michael Sledge, "The More I Owe You." (Berkeley: Counterpoint Press, 2010).