Ana LuĂ­sa Amaral


Winner of the Premio Reina Sofía for Poetry, Ana Luísa Amaral (1956-2022) was born in Lisbon, in 1956. She was highly acclaimed not only for her poetry, but also for her plays, children’s books, books of essays, and a novel. She was widely regarded as the finest translator into Portuguese of Emily Dickinson and William Shakespeare. Her books have been translated into many languages and her awards include the Premio Internazionale Fondazione Roma and the PEN Prize for Fiction. In 2019, New Directions published her What’s in a Name to rave reviews and forthcoming is her new work, World. Source

The table

Translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa


My country

is this room opening onto the balcony,

it is also the balcony with its flowers

that come and go over the months, and that seem to me

luminous even when they turn the color

of a sad wind


My country

is the white cloth covering me, the dishes placed on me

each day, the arms that lean on me,

even the water in which I nearly drowned,

spilled absentmindedly by the hand that poured it

over my body, a clumsy,

thoughtless hand


I came to know it early on,

my country that is,

when it was still the perfumed landscape

of various timbers, my sisters all, of the sawmill,

its air filled with tiny filaments and sweetly

scented dust, the fingers that then chose me,

a broad piece of wood, and stroked and caressed me

with planes, varnish, polish


that was already my country: a prairie of insects,

white winds, the living sap that ran

in my veins, the water I drank to survive,

and that protected me


May the hand that rests on me

here, now,

remember this our shared condition:

we came from the same realm, and to that same realm

we will go, she and me:


the atoms that shaped and made me

could so easily have been hers





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Poems of Place

Literary Devices:


the usage of words in a clause that are repeated in reverse order

Extended Metaphor

a metaphor that extends through several lines or even an entire poem


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Transferred Epithet

When an adjective usually used to describe one thing is transferred to another.