Mario de sa-carniero

The poet with many lives

This is an ingenious and infuriating book about an ingenious and infuriating writer. I first encountered Fernando Pessoa in the wonderful and lamented Penguin International Poets series, and what intrigued me was that he was more than one person. There was his poetry, but also sections attributed to his heteronyms, or imaginary alter egos. Stylistically they were very different. There was the rustic naïf, Caeiro; the neo-classicist, Reis (later to be a subject for one of Portugal’s other major literary figures, José Saramago); and the loud-mouthed modernist, Alvaro de Campos, a naval engineer who apparently studied in Glasgow. Later, I bought a copy of The Book of Disquiet, a posthumous