4 out of 4 stars
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Virtual is a lovely collection of poems written by Silvino Ferreira Jr. It is a bilingual edition: the poems were written in Portuguese and translated into English by Anne-Marie Glasheen. The themes explored by the author in his poems include new information and communication technologies, social media, and living in London. The author does not use any particular structure or rhyme scheme; he uses free verse, and some poems reminded me of concrete poetry.
My favorite poems were the ones in which the author celebrates London, though. He paints the city using tender strokes. He marvels at its textures, the Thames, “logos illuminated on a row of facades, a typology of colours in secular arcades/anxious faces paused at collective stops.” I enjoyed how Ferreira Jr. vividly evokes London’s overall look and feel – its peculiar mood and atmosphere. I also appreciated how he explores the feeling of being lost in “exile in a foreign language/when the precise word eludes me.” I’m sure that most expatriates can relate to the feeling.
Paradoxically, there was a timeless and almost vintage quality to this collection of poems, although several of them were about the digital world. This aspect was what I enjoyed the most about it. It’s one of those books that could have been written using a quill instead of a computer. Its language seems elegant and restrained, and these classic undertones amused me.
There’s nothing I disliked about this touching and heartwarming collection of poems, and it seemed professionally edited. I also commend the translator; translating poems can’t be an easy task. Therefore, I gladly rate Virtual 4 out of 4 stars. It was a fast and heartwarming read that came in handy in these difficult times. I strongly recommend it to all readers who enjoy poetry. If you also speak Portuguese, it will particularly appeal to you.
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