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Jose Soares

Dinneen, Mark (ed.) (2007) Jose Soares, São Paulo, Brazil, Hedra, 158pp. (Biblioteca de Cordel).

Record type: Book


This study of the life and work of the Brazilian popular poet José Soares focuses particularly on his role as a ‘popular journalist’, converting major news items, both national and international, into pamphlet poetry (literatura de cordel) for the consumption of subaltern sectors of the population. It discusses how the verse form, language and symbolism used in that process of conversion made him such an effective communicator with his traditional readership, and how the mechanisms he developed for the rapid printing and distribution of his work facilitated high sales and wide-spread diffusion. In this way, the study shows how Soares’ work demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of literatura de cordel as a form of popular journalism in Brazil. To enhance understanding of this role that cordel has played, reference is made to Luiz Beltrão’s concept of ‘folkcommunication’, which shows how Brazil’s subaltern classes have adapted deeply-rooted popular traditions within their communities, such as forms of song, story telling and narrative poetry, to create their own particular channels and practices for the propagation of information and the exchange of ideas and opinions. Beltrão’s work is useful for understanding how Soares’ produced his poetry and how it functions to create original versions of major news items, significantly different from those versions propagated in Brazil’s mass media. Finally, the study argues that though this ‘popular journalism’ was undoubtedly the most important dimension of Soares’ poetry, it only constituted one aspect of his work. Dependent on the sale of his poetry for his living, he also produced a significant amount of humorous verse to entertain his readers, poems on Brazilian football and poetry commissioned for publicity purposes. These types of poetry, examples of which are included in the anthology, are also discussed in the study.

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Published date: May 2007


Local EPrints ID: 46042
ISBN: 9788577150571
PURE UUID: c2ca6f40-17d0-4f5e-83c3-fef99cab230c

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Date deposited: 21 May 2007
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:09

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Editor: Mark Dinneen

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