I have recently gone on a Brazilian kick. I almost bought a ticket to visit there, even. On Travelocity.com last Friday, I was doing a random check on airfare and found out it was only $525 RT to Sao Paolo! I have friends who have relatives there, and was waiting to find out if anyone would be home. (Interestingly enough, that was more important than waiting for the “go ahead” signal from my hubby…). Alas, by the time I got an answer, the airfare had shot up to $760. Dang! You snooze, you lose.
So I have had to satisfy my urges by visiting my local Brazilian grocery. There, I bought two savory pastries, one called coxinha and the other was a Brazilian kibbeh concoction called quibe. I loved the former – a lovely chicken croquette with crispy bread crumbs on the outside (Here is a recipe link). The kibbeh was too salty. I also bought a square of orange colored cake with a cocoa icing. I gave that to my Brazilian co-worker because I am supposed to be on a diet.
The main cultural aspect of Brazil that I have been researching is called cordel literature, or literatura de cordel. (from Maria-Brazil.org): “Literatura de cordel” (string literature) are pamphlets or booklets that hang from a piece of string (cordel) in the places where they are sold. These are long, narrative poems with woodcut illustrations on the cover, often done by the poet himself. There are traditional themes (romances, fantastic stories, animal fables, religious traditions) and themes based on current events, famous people, life in the cities, etc. Cordel literature can be hilarious and very racy, too.”
Article on literature de cordel on Tobetupi.com.
Brazilian Collection and information site on Cordel Literature (in Portuguese).
Acrobat file on native poetry forms of the Americas – first page is on cordel literature.
Arizona State University professor’s article on his cordel collection.
Lesson Plan: Stories on a String from Saxarts.com
Another Event: the Green Cordel Festival May 2009
Books about Cordel Literature:
Lampion and his Bandits – English Version of Cordel literature legend, Lampion – a sort of Brazilian Robin Hood.
Stories on a String – by Candace Slater – very important resource.
Jorge Amado: New Critical Essays
Article in Callaloo Journal
The Cambridge History of Latin American Literature by Roberto González Echevarría, Enrique Pupo-Walker
That’s just the beginning. One of the reasons I am going to the John C. Campbell School is to learn a bit about woodcut printing!