The President of the Azores joins the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture to celebrate the creation of the Bellis Azorica book series

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DARTMOUTH — Azores Regional Government President José Manuel Bolieiro joined officials from the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture at UMass Dartmouth on Monday to celebrate the creation of the Bellis Azorica book series featuring works by Azorean authors in translation.

The special event organized at the New Bedford Whaling Museum served to present the five Azorean books that have been translated into English and published so far with the support of the Regional Government of the Azores by Tagus Press, the editorial arm of the Center for Studies Portuguese and Culture.

“Too often, Portuguese authors in general, and Azorean authors in particular, go unrecognized for their talents and contributions,” said Dr. Paula Celeste Gomes Noversa, director of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture. “The significance of the Bellis Azorica book series is that it brings this literature to a wider audience, an English-speaking readership.”

Given the demographics of this region and its close ties to the Mid-Atlantic Archipelago, she said it made perfect sense to dedicate an entire series to Azorean authors so that more people could become aware of the beauty and depth of Azorean literature.

“The goal of Tagus Press is to bring the best of Portuguese literature in translation,” she said. “This series takes that to the ultimate expression of community engagement and scholarship because this area is, I’m sure, as you all know, the most populated area in terms of Portuguese descendants in the country. There is so much to do between this region and the Azores and it’s a good start.

Dr. Paula Celeste Gomes Noversa, Director of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, delivers her remarks at a special event held in New Bedford to celebrate the creation of the Bellis Azorica book series.

Bolieiro said the new book collection will provide a great way to further build awareness of Azorean traditions and identity through literature and poetry.

“I’m extremely proud of all the authors who are now starting to be translated here,” he said. “They teach and tell much of what our identity reveals and they give a cosmopolitan and universalist sense of the Portuguese and Azorean thinker.”

For him, the translation of these works “represents a projection, a culture and a generational solidarity for the Azorean identity”.

Bolieiro hopes these books will also cultivate interest and instill a sense of pride and curiosity among new generations of Portuguese-Americans about the homeland of their ancestors.

“If knowledge is only transmitted in Portuguese, the possibility of informing them of the reality of their grandparents or their parents is lost,” he said. “Through literature and poetry, there is this possibility.”

He said publishing these books is a good start, but not enough.

“We need to create a kaleidoscope of opportunities to ensure more sharing, more connections,” he said. “The relational engine that I want to cement with this strategy is the future. We are proud of the past, but also looking to the future.

Dr. Mário Pereira, editor of Tagus Press and co-editor of Bellis Azorica with Professor Onésimo T. Almeida of Brown University, noted that this is an unprecedented book series.

“The Bellis Azorica is, to my knowledge, the only series of books dedicated exclusively to the Azores and the English-speaking world and, therefore, can play a role in understanding the Azorean diaspora,” he said.

The inaugural volume in the series was Dr. Francisco Cota Fagundes’ fully edited translation of the classic Azorean novel: Stormy Isles: An Azorean Tale by Vitorino Nemesio.

“I am very happy to see that the Regional Government of the Azores has supported and continues to support the translation into English of Azorean writers and literary works,” said Dr. Fagundes, professor emeritus in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies. of the University. University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

“Antero Quental, Vitorino Nemésio, Pedro da Silveira, João de Melo, Natália Correia never experienced immigration, but were able to capture many aspects of the immigrant experience [in their books] and thus pay tribute to their compatriots who have directly witnessed and lived these experiences,” said Dr. Fagundes.

The second volume in the series is a bilingual edition of ‘Poems in Absentia & Poems from The Island and the World’ by Pedro da Silveira, translated into English by George Monteiro.

The other three titles published are: “The Unknown Islands” by Raul Brandão, translated by David Brookshaw; ‘Dark Stones’ by Dias de Melo, translated by Gregory McNab; and ‘Smiling in the Darkness’ by Adelaide Freitas, translated by Katharine F. Baker.

Dr Pereira said the intention was to publish at least two books a year, but it was planned to publish three books in the coming year. A collection of selected sonnets and poems by Antero de Quental is expected to be published this fall, and two poetry anthologies will follow.

He said the support from the Azores regional government gives Tagus Press much-needed financial stability.

“This support allows us to plan and organize the publication of several different books at the same time. It may sound trite, but it’s important to the success of the Bellis Azorica series,” he said, noting that it takes several years to publish a book.

“During this period, our expenses include copyrights, translation costs, design and production costs, printing costs, and events and promotions,” he added. “We need a reliable and predictable budget. This is the key.

Beyond the financial aid, the support of the government of the Azores also brings “legitimacy and visibility” which considerably facilitates the promotion and dissemination of the books, he concluded.

Bellis Azorica’s books are available on the UMass Press website at https://www.umasspress.com and on Amazon.

Lurdes C. da Silva can be contacted at [email protected] To read more stories about the Portuguese-speaking community in English and Portuguese, please visit ojornal.com.


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