The Language of Being is Wordless

I just came across the work of Portuguese poet, Ana Hatherly who worked both visually and poetically, often crossing genres.

What prompted the discovery? It was an image included in the email signature of another creative academic from Portugal, Anabela Duarte, who organized the Invisible Republics conference that I participated in in 2017.

In her email signature, she included this:

“the reinvention of reading” (1975), by Ana Hatherly

Ana Hatherly

This led me to investigate her work further, and immediately, I was delighted and found kinship with another creative who is passionate about expression through both language and form.

Her work resonates with my own love for language, sensation, expression and form. And, remarkably, there are some visual similarities to her mark-making style that correlate to a series of “survival drawings” I did in the early 2000’s.


I find the way she plays with text-based visual work (as above) very compelling. And the flow of imagery and sensation portrayed in her poems.

Here are a couple that resonated:


O meu nome é JÁ
My name is NOW
Eu grito o resto do resto
I cry out the surplus
A ciência da perspicácia
The science of sagacity
O jardim passional da alma
The passionate inner-garden
A escolha da melhor parte
The choice pick
O meu nome é acção: ANA ANA
My name is deed: ME ME
Quando é que eu disse noli me tangere
When did I say don’t touch me
A linguagem do ser não são palavras
The language of being is wordless

*The translation of each line is an integral and inseparable part of the poem.

Unpublished poem by Portuguese poet Ana Hatherly found here:

The poem below was also found here:

. . .

I’m thrilled to know of her work, and look forward to digging deeper!



One baroque poet said:
The words are
The eyes’ tongues
But what is a poem
If not
A telescope of desire
Focused by language?
The sinuous flight of the birds
The tall waves of the sea
The lull of the wind:
Everything fits into words
And the poet who sees
Weeps tears of ink
Um poeta barroco disse:
As palavras são
As línguas dos olhos
Mas o que é um poema
Um telescópio do desejo
Fixado pela língua?
O voo sinuoso das aves
As altas ondas do mar
A calmaria do vento:
Tudo cabe dentro das palavras
E o poeta que vê
Chora lágrimas de tinta
© Translated by Ana Hudson, 2010
in O Pavão Negro, 2003

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