Focusing on Cape Verde, Angola, and Mozambique, we intend to reflect on the space occupied by postcolonial poetry in those lusophone African countries. We have in view the contemporary disenchantment resulting from a sense of social dystopias. On the basis of our understanding of the latter, our intention is to investigate whether or not the Cape Verdean, Angolan, and Mozambican works of poetry to be analyzed are instituted as "revolutionary sites" that affirm themselves as literary products of political and aesthetic compromise. In the final analysis, we wish to verify whether, although fragmented, present-day poetic consciousness, expressed in these literatures, is offered up as "spaces of new memories."
In the aftermath of independence euphoria, at the end of the 1980s and in the early 1990s, in their works the new generations of Cape Verdean writers begin to denounce the archipelago's cultural void and verify that political liberation has not ended poverty and hunger. What is delineated is a strong sense of disappointment as relates to the "combatant-celebrative" values that inspired so much of independence poetics. Postindependence euphoria poetry no longer celebrates only collective social patriotism, it also has proceeded to operate with individualist feelings within the context of the existential and universal. What has emerged is a new lyricism, replete with metapoetic constructions that rethink social paths as well as those of poetry itself.
Mirabilis de Veias ao Sol (Mirabilis Foliage in the Sun, which also can be freely translated as Admirable Trends in the Sun), is an anthology, organized by Jose Luis Hopffer Almada and published in 1991, that brings together works by the Novissimos Poetas de Cabo Verde (Cape Verde's Most Recent Poets), this being the volume's subtitle, and divulges a lyric output of the period of the post-25th of April (this being, of course, the date, in 1974, on which the Portuguese fascist dictatorship was overthrown). The unfulfilled promises of social justice after political independence have generated a sense of deception on the part of some. Nevertheless, recalling that even in the desert there grows a plant called mirabilis, the mirabilia generation, i.e, the "admirable generation," emerges and offers itself as poetic resistance to those preceding years of what some think of as "bad literary times." In the anthology's introduction Hopffer Almada defines these youngest poets' profession of faith. Their works, as a whole, undertake to be a profound reflection on the Cape Verde present:
Fustigada pelos ventos (da incompreensao!), pelo sol (da hipocrisia!), pelos tempos varios do mau tempo literario, desse tempo querendo-se vegetacao literaria. No deserto, cresce a geracao mirabilica, feita signo na margem desertica do mar. De velas ao sol. As veias da indagacao. As veias alagadas da terra das estradas, da poeira do dia-a-dia, do masape dos campos do lixo dos caminhos suburbanos, do desespero recoberto de moscas, baratas e outros vermes. As veias loucas do mar, do maritimo lirismo dos dias afogados nos ciumes dos montes. As veias, veias de vida, de morte, de desespero, das quatro estacoes misticas do que se medita no refugio do silencio. Veias docampones e da enxada neste coito de seculos com a terra. Ao sol, hipocrita por entre a bruma e os cerros. Sol, signo de luz. Sol que ilumina. Sol que queima e ofusca o caminhar. Sol dependurado da perseveranca secular. Mirabilis de veias ao sol. Geracao mirabilica indagando o sol. "No deserto cresce a Mirabilis". diz o poeta orlando rodrigues. "embora de veias ao sol". Adita rodrigues de Sousa, para que das imagens do deserto crescam as palavras da nossa geracao e delas reste, ao menos, o cadaver da poesia. Sugere Mito, o poeta plastico, ou que o cadaver se metamofoseie em flor e espinho, num panorama azul, de onirico, sugere Mito, o plastico poeta. Uma unica rosa e a Mirabilis, e dela queda um sol de sangue. O sol da poesia mirabilica. Punished by the winds (of incomprehension)!), by the sun (of hypocrisy!), by those various times of bad literary weather, of that time in want of literary vegetation. In the desert, the mirabilica generation comes of age, turned into a sign on the sea's sandy shore. With its leafy plant fibers under the sun. The leafy fibers of inquiry. The marshy frameworks of the roads' soil, of the day-to-day dust, of the fields' fertile earth, of the trash strewn along suburban byways, of the despair sprinkled with flies, cockroaches, and other such creatures. The mad fibers of the sea, of the maritime lyricism of the days drowned in the envy of the hills. The fibers, fibers of life, of death, of despair, of the four mystic seasons about which one meditates in the refuge of silence. Fibers of the field hand and of the hoe in the centuries-long coitus with the land. In the sun, dissimulator between the mist and the crags. Sun, sign of light. Sun that illuminates. Sun that scorches and obscures the walkway. Sun suspended from secular perseverance. Mirabilis plant--leafy fibers under the sun. Mirabilica generation querying the sun. "In the desert the Mirabilis plant grows." So states the poet Orlando Rodrigues. "Although with leafy fibers in the sun." As Rodrigues de Sousa goes on to state, so that from the images of the desert may sprout the words of our generation, and from these words may remain, at least, the cadaver of poetry. Mito [Myth], the plastic arts poet, suggests that or so it be the cadaver metamorphoses into flower and thorn, in a blue panorama, of the oneiric, suggests Mito, the plastic arts poet. The Mirabilis is a unique rose, and what remains of it is a sun of blood. The sun of mirabilica poetry. (26-27)
Among the poets of the mirabilica generation are Dina Salustio, Vera Duarte, and other women who founded a feminist poetic. It is worth noting that in Duarte's poetry the sea is intimately associated with her discourse.
Maritime metaphors have long been present in the poetic compositions of Cape Verde. But in the works of poets of earlier generations the ocean appeared as a confining element. Women found themselves bound to the wharf, submissively awaiting the return of their lovers, sons, or husbands who had set sail to fish, hunt for whales, or who had left to study in Portugal. The sea, as the magma of memory and of the feminine unconscious, is a conquest for the most recent Cape Verdean poetry, which follows the interior labyrinths of the desire of the woman-poet. One representative of this present-day poetic is the afore-mentioned Vera Duarte, whose verse marks a woman's right to the erotic qualities of her own body and voice:
Fechemos as cloacas fetidas da cidade e deixemos inebriarem-se os ares de recendidos perfumes estivais. E o preco da liberdade. Palmeiras ao sol e longas praias de areia molhada a manterem desperto o fervilhar animico das paixoes. A voz do libido. Em toda a sua violencia incontrolavel. Let us close the city's fetid sewers and let us permit the air around to become inebriated with odoriferous summer perfumes. It is the price of freedom. Palm trees in …