The most recent Brazilian avant-garde movement, called Concretism, began in the middle fifties, bound – like any other avant-garde movement – to the “tradition of rupture”, both in aesthetic and theoretical terms. Nevertheless, they were very interested in revamping it (in a very Poundian manner), not only by looking into the future, but also by the creative recovery of the literature of the past. Therefore, the fact that most of those poets engaged in poetic translations of both contemporary and older poets should not be surprising. During that time, classical literature received great attention from the brothers Haroldo and Augusto de Campos, Décio Pignatari, and later from Paulo Leminski, which is usually categorized in the Marginalis movement of late sixties and seventies: we have translations (or “transcreations”, in the words of Haroldo de Campos) of Homer (H. de Campos, 2003, 2009), Sappho (A. de Campos, 1994; H. de Campos, 1998; Pignatari, 2007), Alcaeus (Pignatari, 2007; H. de Campos, 1998), Pindar (H. de Campos, 1972), Vergil (A. de Campos, 1994), Horace (Pignatari, 1986; H. De Campos, 1998; Achcar 1994), Catullus (Pignatari, 2007; H. De Campos, 1998), Ovid (H. de Campos, 1998), Persius (ibid.), Martial (Pignatari, 2007), Ausonius (A. de Campos, 2000), Petronius (Leminski, 1985), among others.
When we investigate those translations, it is possible to notice that in general they perform a self-aware rewriting (as theorized by Andre Lefevere, 1992) of the Roman texts in order to make them part of a living Brazilian literature, in a way that could be compared to the “anthropophagy” proposed by Oswald de Andrade in the middle 20’s as means to accomplish a real Brazilian poetic achievement with few (or no) debts to the European contemporary literature; thus inverting the myth of the good savage who only learns and repeats the colonizer’s tradition, trying to become a ‘white man’. According to Oswald de Andrade (2011), we could act as literary cannibal Indians, devouring foreign literature and mixing it to our previous native culture (such as Indian or African) in order to produce a new object, different from that European flesh, but at the same time embodied by it. The goal of the paper is to discuss the ways in which these avant-garde poets recreated/anthropophagized the Roman tradition, mostly by means of innovative translations, and how those translations created an intertext, or a macrotext involved by the works of those Brazilian poets.