Portuguese-North American Literature 101


In recent months, I’ve been reading academic books, journals and articles relating to the birth and development of Portuguese-North American writing in an effort to educate myself. I call it Portuguese-North American Literature 101 because so much of what I’ve come across has led me to writers and books I knew little about, for example, João de Melo and his incredible novel, My World is Not of This Kingdom. I also began bookmarking interesting online articles and clipping magazine pieces relating to Portuguese-North American writers and the burgeoning literary community.

It occurred to me that others may be interested and perhaps inspired to read some of these pieces so I began contacting writers with the idea of compiling a few essays and interviews in a simple pdf file as a free download. All of the pieces, save for my interview with poet Millicent Borges Accardi, have been previously published and are republished with permission from the writers. This simple pdf “booklet” is my small contribution towards encouraging other “late-blooming Lusophiles” to learn more about the rich cultural background–and future!–of Portuguese North-American literature. Thank you to Oona Patrick, Richard Simas, Frank Gaspar, Millicent Borges Accardi, Darrell Kastin and Onésimo Teotónio Almeida for allowing me to reprint your interviews, articles and essays.

Download: Portuguese-North American Writing

DISQUIET International Literary Program

“Sometimes I dream that Lisbon doesn’t exist and will only be a legend that one can recount, not to those who live here, but to those who come here visiting.”
~ Azorean novelist João de Melo

I was one of nearly fifty North American writers who attended Disquiet’s inaugural program last June in Lisbon and I can say that the city has an elusive and magical quality that affected – and infected – many of us.

Last year’s faculty included Portuguese American poet and novelist Frank X. Gaspar who led the workshop Writing the Luso Experience for our small group of fifteen. Since then, we’ve gone on to produce reading events (Kale Soup for the Soul), publish articles, essays and books, create an online community (Presence/Presença), and of course, continue with our writing careers. In my case, the program cemented an interest in starting a literary press specializing in translations, Azorean literature, and works by Portuguese North American writers.

As it turns out, the second annual DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon is still accepting entries for its July 2012 session. I would urge Luso-North American writers with an interest in Portuguese literature to attend this well-organized literary and cultural program. It’s a rare opportunity to participate in workshops, lectures, literary excursions, film screenings, and informal meetings with Portuguese writers, editors, professors and translators. Frank Gaspar will be returning to Lisbon for the 2012 program, along with Philip Graham (The Moon, Come to Earth: Dispatches from Lisbon), Josip Novakovich, Kim Addonozio and many other award-winning authors.

In addition to innovative and challenging two-week workshops in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, Disquiet also offers one-week workshops in songwriting with indie legend Dan Bern, and photo-documentary storytelling with Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice. The program will host an exciting group of contemporary Portuguese and North American writers including Anthony de Sa and José Luís Peixoto, renowned translater Richard Zenith, and editors from Dzanc Books, Open Letter, Ninth Letter, and Guernica.

Read this interview with Jeff Parker, director and co-founder of the Disquiet Program.
Visit the website for details or contact disquietinternational@gmail.org.