Gilberto Velho – A Utopia Urbana – Um Estudo de Antropologia Social – English Translation


I was reading this anthropology book by Gilberto Velho – A Utopia Urbana – Um Estudo de Antropologia Social about people who want to move to, by any means necessary, the Estrela Building in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It’s in Portuguese and I couldn’t find any English versions of the book, so I wanted to write up a translation of it in case someone else wanted to read it in English someday. I only did the Conclusion section, though. It’s not a very long book, but I’m not sure when I’ll have time to do the rest.

Velho recently passed away. During his career he was an influential Brazilian anthropologist.

Chapter 5. Conclusions

“Whoever has experienced Copacabana doesn’t want to live anywhere else.” – A Neighborhood Resident

Up to what point can Social Anthropology be useful to research of the urban environment, especially of the large metropolises? Continue reading “Gilberto Velho – A Utopia Urbana – Um Estudo de Antropologia Social – English Translation”


北方門前 Bei Fang Men Qian, In Front of the North Door by Haizi

This is a poem by Hai Zi, a Chinese poet, that I translated.

In front of the North door,
a little lady,
shook a tiny bell.

I wish
wish to be a pagoda,
built sadly in the night.

At daybreak, she catches sight of me.
Her eyes looking from the high distance.
She watches me, embodying total beauty.

亞洲銅 Yazhou Tong, Asian Copper by Hai Zi

This is a poem by Hai Zi, a Chinese poet, that I translated.

Asian Copper, Asian Copper
Grandfather died here, father died here, I, too, will die here.
You are the place to bury people.

Asian Copper, Asian Copper
That which loves to doubt and fly is the birds
That which floods everything is the seawater.
Your master is actually the grass, it lives on your tiny waist,
hold the wildflowers’ hands and secrets.

Asian Copper, Asian Copper
Have you seen? Those two white doves? They are the white shoes
that Qu Yuan left behind on the beach.
Let’s—us and the river—put them on.

Asian Copper, Asian Copper
After the drums beat, we will name the dancing heart in the darkness
the moon.
This moon is primarily made of you.

日記 ri ji Diary by Haizi

This is a poem by Hai Zi, a Chinese poet, that I translated.

Big Sister, tonight,
I’m in Delingha, darkness enveloped,
Sister, tonight I only have the Gobi.

The grassland ends, my two hands,
Grief can’t hold a single tear.
Sister, tonight, I’m in Delingha,
This is the desolate city in the rainwater.

Besides those roads passed
and places lived,
This is the only, the last, expression.
This is the only, the last, grassland.

I gave a stone to a stone.
Tonight, the barely only belongs
to itself.
Every slice grows,
Tonight, I only have the beautiful Gobi,

Sister tonight I am unconcerned with humanity.
I only think of you.

Rain by Hai Zi 海子的雨

This is a poem by Hai Zi, a Chinese poet, that I translated.

make a fire and walk it to the boat to see the mountaintop, rain soaked, wheat field.
such small, weak, grains.

then extinguish the fire in front of the idols.
we rely on each other in silence.
you are a fairy, you live in the hamlet’s depths.

o moon, you frigid flame, the ever ripe maiden in your rain coat.

tonight’s flame is dressed to appear as a fresh flower.
to swim in the sky’s south.
to swim in the night, rise above the top of my head.

the little village in the highlands is small, impoverished.
it looks like a grain, like an umbrella.
the naked maiden in the umbrella silently doesn’t speak.

the impoverished, lonely, maiden looks like a queen, lives within the umbrella
sunlight and rainwater can only give you dust and mud.
you hide from everything in the umbrella
refusing tears and memories.

Facing the Sea 面朝大海春暖花开 mian chao da hai chun nuan hua kai

This is a poem by Hai Zi, a Chinese poet, that I translated. It was written in January of 1989.


Facing the Sea, Warm Spring Flowers Blooming
by Hai Zi

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be fortunate,
greet the horses, split firewood, travel the globe.
Starting tomorrow, I’ll connect with the grain and the vegetables,
have a room, facing the sea, warm spring flowers blooming.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll talk to the bitter;
I’ll tell them about my happiness
and what the lightning strike of fortune tells me.
My desire is to tell everyone.

I’ll give every river, every mountain a warm name.
Strangers, I wish also for your fortune.
I wish you all a bright future,
wish you lovers and that love will find a way,
wish you’ll find fortune in this life.
I just wish to face the sea, and that warm spring flowers bloom.