As author of Canção do Homem Essencial (1981), Primavera Interior (1985), and Menino no Mundo (1994), Loyola Rodrigues won the status of a great poet. And I suspect that he has not yet published his most decisive poetry. Now, he is publishing a lot of his poems in English. So, the English language readers will soon, and easüy, discover a new wealth of poetry.
Loyola has no compromise with the avant-garde's art, nor any affiliation to schools. According to him, art is a free business that requires only talent. He deals with themes that are also part of his personal drama, like love, women, ways through the world, rivers, cities and countries, as well as people, the ruling class that he lashes strongly, although he is not an anarchist, and poets ("against metaphor-makers"). In fact, Loyola inaugurates a new school in poetry, that is 'moral realism'. He imagines a true poet as a healthy man using rational argument and language, and thus possessing values and social responsibility.
Of course, this would be almost nothing in poetry if the poet had only a little talent. But Loyola possesses an enormous talent. His poetry, highly lyrical, conscious, and rationalist, streams very well in his mother language, as well as in English or in French.
The question now is this: is he a great poet of the end of this century or is he, instead, the first poet, already appearing, of the coming one?
The twentieth century was marked by two major literary ways: surrealism and essentialism. One suppresses reason, the other the words. Loyola clearly faces up to these tendencies. He rather proposes, and even realises, a rehabilitation of reason and language in poetry. Loyola also condemns the schizophrenia of the twentieth century poets. We ought not to separate the poet from the citizen. "Morally, poets are responsible beings", he said. We ought, then, to face the reality, and so escape from surrealism. This is clearly a vast gulf to cross, and this is also a task for the coming century.
To read Loyola's poetry is then necessary, and above ali it is a pleasure.
With Standing the Four Winds(Londres: Editora Minerva Press, 1997)