O Novo Colosso

Translated into Portuguese by Ellen Doré Watson and Jorge Emil

I regret that I know precious little about family origins; both parents’ ancestors hail from a ridiculous number of European countries. My mother claimed that her maiden name, Doré, indicated connection to famous Gustav, but there’s no supporting evidence of this, nor whatsoever information about any of our forebears’ arrivals to the New World.

Ellen Doré Watson (co-translator) translates from Brazilian Portuguese. She is Conkling Visiting Poet at Smith College, poetry & translation editor at Massachusetts Review and core faculty in Drew Unversity’s Low-Res MFA program in Poetry and Translation. Her fifth full-length collection, pray me stay eager, is out from Alice James Books. 

My maternal grandfather came to Brazil from Lebanon in the early twentieth century and worked mainly in logging. My father, born in Lisbon, came to Brazil in the 1950s to escape extreme poverty and the Salazar dictatorship, and worked his entire life as a truck driver.

Jorge Emil (co-translator) was born in 1970 in Caratinga, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. A theater actor who has performed in more than thirty shows and voiced many TV documentaries, he is also a poet, with four books in print, and currently lives in São Paulo.

Não como o famoso gigante grego descarado,
Com suas pernas triunfantes atravessando de terra em terra;
Aqui, em nossos portões lavados pelo mar e o pôr do sol,
Se erguerá uma mulher poderosa com uma tocha,
Cuja chama é relâmpago aprisionado, e seu nome
Mãe dos Exilados. Em sua mão-farol brilha um “bem-vindo”
Tão largo quanto o mundo; seus olhos brandos comandam
O porto, sua ponte de ar que as cidades gêmeas enquadram.
“Fique com suas terras antigas, a pompa histórica!”, ela grita
Com lábios silenciosos. “Traga-me seus pobres, seus cansados,
Suas massas amontoadas desejando respirar livres,
O miserável refugo que fervilha à beira-mar.
Entregue-me estes, os sem-teto, agitados por tempestades:
Levanto minha lâmpada ao lado da porta dourada.”

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