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Sheep’s Vigil by a Fervent Person: From Rural Portuguese Landscape to the Toronto Cityscape

Sara Paiva Henriques


Abstract. Published in 2001, Eirin Moure’s Sheep’s Vigil by a Fervent Person shape-shifts between a translation, transelation, reading, and reinterpretation of Alberto Caeiro’s O Guardador de Rebanhos (1946). Language plays an important role in the making of Sheep’s Vigil, not only when dealing with issues of authorship, and [individual] interpretation in translation; but also because it was only after Moure had learned Galician that she was able to read the Portuguese modernist poems. This paper focuses not only on the impact and importance of translation studies when analyzing this particular Canadian poetry book, but also—and most importantly—on the meeting and mingling of two highly different cultures, separated both by time and space: Caeiro’s depiction of Portuguese rural landscape and Moure’s Toronto cityscape (densely punctuated by images of water, cats, urbanity). How subjective are Moure’s translations of Caeiro? How do Portugal and Canada convene in the author’s contemporary poetry? In diasporic literature, homeland is almost inevitably a keyword, a concept that needs to be explored: I seek to understand which of these two places Moure inhabits while translating and writing Sheep’s Vigil by a Fervent Person.


Contemporary Canadian poetry, Alberto Caeiro, translation studies, rewriting, language

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