American Studies Over_Seas 2: (Multi)Vocal Exchanges Across the Atlantic

In Honor of Teresa F. A. Alves and Teresa Cid

by Edgardo da Silva (Volume editor) Margarida Vale de Gato (Volume editor) Mário Avelar (Volume editor) Irene Maria F. Blayer (Volume editor) Dulce Maria Scott (Volume editor) Tony McGowan (Volume editor)
©2022 Edited Collection XIV, 248 Pages


(Multi)Vocal Exchanges Across the Ocean is the second volume of the project American Studies Over_Seas, an edited collection of texts honoring two pioneering Portuguese scholars in American literature and culture. Devoted to relations between Portugal and the United States, it includes essays by leading scholars whose research illuminates the multifarious ways in which history, sociology and literature intersect. A special feature of this collection is the inclusion of creative writing pieces that provide an imaginative intellectual backdrop to the transnational turn in American Studies. The literary contributions focus on diasporic experiences, dramatizing issues of ethnicity, identity, and interculturality. The essays of a more personal nature highlight the career of the two honorees, discuss protocols involving academic exchanges, and showcase dialogues between Europe and America over the past 30 years. Of benefit to the academic and the interested reader, this volume enriches the metaphor of the Atlantic Ocean as a space not only of struggle but also of ongoing conversation.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Advance Praise
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Dedication
  • Ode à Minha Mão: Navegações | Ode to My Hand: Navigations (Ana Luísa Amaral)
  • Introduction by the Editors
  • I. Literary Affinities and Transatlantic Cooperation in Academia
  • 1. An Invocation for Teresa F. A. Alves and Teresa Cid, via John Donne and Emily Dickinson (Maria Helena de Paiva Correia)
  • 2. A Sketch of Two Women Warriors (Ana Cristina Alves)
  • 3. Tales of Two Teresas (Katherine Vaz)
  • 4. Love What You Will Quickly (Frank X. Gaspar)
  • 5. American Studies and Cultural Diplomacy (Juliet Antunes Sablosky)
  • 6. Atlantic Partnership: The Georgetown University/University of Lisbon Faculty Exchange, 1995–2006 (Ronald Johnson, Randy Bass, George O’Brien, and Lucy Maddox)
  • 7. Friendship Overseas for a Better World (Maria Laura Bettencourt Pires)
  • 8. What the Brooklyn Bridge Talks About When It Dreams: A Fantasy (Heinz Ickstadt)
  • II. Portuguese American Transits
  • 9. “Immodest Demands for a Different World”: The Portuguese Maritime Voyages in US Verse by Women (Diana V. Almeida and Margarida Vale de Gato)
  • 10. Women’s Diasporic Trajectories in Katherine Vaz’s Our Lady of the Artichokes and Other Portuguese-American Stories (Isabel Oliveira Martins)
  • 11. Ageing in America: Some Remarks on Jorge de Sena’s Poetry of Exile, 1965–1968 (Jorge Fazenda Lourenço)
  • 12. Herman Melville’s “The ‘Gees’: Dramatizing America’s Fear of Racial Commixture” (Reinaldo Francisco Silva)
  • 13. Islanders, Sailors, and Democratic Dignity: Azorean Seamen in Melville’s Moby-Dick; or The Whale (Edgardo Medeiros da Silva)
  • 14. Portuguese Americans: Ethnic Group en Route to Assimilation, or Diaspora in the Making? (Dulce Maria Scott)
  • 15. The Magic of George Monteiro’s Osmosis: American Literature in the Lusophone World, Portuguese Literature in America (Onésimo Teotónio Almeida)
  • III. Creative Writing/Textual Diasporas
  • 16. Two Portuguese American Poems (Nancy Vieira Couto)
  • 17. The Man from Africa (Darrel Kastin)
  • 18. My Father the Truck Driver (Julian Silva)
  • 19. Chronicles from an Imaginary Voyage (Richard Simas)
  • 20. Wine-Dark Sea (Scott Edward Anderson)
  • 21. Two Lisbon Poems (Dean Ellis)
  • 22. Fall River Fado (Stuart Blazer)
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Tabula Gratulatoria
  • Index
  • Series Index

←viii | ix→


Ode à Minha Mão: Navegações
Ana Luísa Amaral

Traz-me de novo essa alegria antiga
de navegar sobre o papel contigo,
de quando o meu olhar,
em vez de asfalto encoberto por carros e por caos,
se ofuscava por luzes, pássaros desenhando
uma estrada no céu
Porque o lugar onde o meu corpo repousava
e tu me acompanhavas
era um espaço sem música nem vento
a amedrontar-me o alfabeto,
e o alfabeto vinha todo ter comigo,
porque tu me servias, não da forma servil e irracional
de obediência velha entre alguns donos e as suas mãos,
mas num encontro de amigas,
um sofá morno e confortável onde cabíamos,
tu e eu – e o meu olhar
E o papel estava ali, à nossa frente,
e de repente enchia-se dos pássaros que voavam por ele
e desciam de novo, entravam no navio
onde tu tinhas desenhado, sozinha, uma cruz,
um arremedo de cavalo, uma estrela,
um quadrado a fingir de vidro de janela transparente
E no papel navegavam depois os pássaros,
contigo ao leme, a rota firme,
e eu seria já não eu somente, mas muitas vozes
falando entre si,
conversando entre polegar, indicador e aquele mar
onde o olhar se perde e reencontra –
Então, um poema prestes a ser aprendido de cor
e muito amado
podia dali fazer-se ao mundo –
←ix | x→

←x | xi→

Ode to My Hand: Navigations
Translation by Margaret Jull Costa

Bring me back the old joy
of sailing with you over a sheet of paper,
when my gaze,
instead of asphalt clogged with cars and chaos,
would be dazzled by lights, by birds tracing
a path across the sky
Because the place where my body rested,
and you alongside me,
was a space where no music or wind
could frighten off the alphabet,
but where the whole alphabet came to meet me,
because you served me, not with the irrational, servile
obedience of certain old hands and their masters,
but like two friends meeting,
sitting cosily together on a warm, comfortable sofa,
just you and me – and my gaze
And there the paper lay before us,
and suddenly it filled up with the birds that flew past
and then down into the ship
where you yourself had drawn a cross,
a semblance of a horse, a star,
a square pretending to be a window of transparent glass
And the birds would then sail across the paper,
with you at the helm, our course firmly set,
and I would be not just me, but many voices
talking to each other,
chatting away between thumb, index finger and that sea
where the gaze is lost and found –
And then a poem ready to be learned by heart
and dearly loved
could set out from there into the world –
←xi | xii→

←xii | 1→

Introduction by the Editors

In this second volume of American Studies Over_Seas—intended to pay homage to Teresa F. A. Alves and Teresa Cid, two dear Portuguese scholars who have dedicated their academic careers to the transnational and interdisciplinary facets of American Studies—we assemble contributions in different literary genres and styles. They range from testimonials, commentaries to translations, intersections between biography and autofiction, lyrical essays and creative writing, in addition to academic essays, the latter especially devoted to the “Lusodiasporic” presence in the cultural and socioeconomic fabric of the United States of America.1 Though heterogeneous in nature and in subject matter, all the pieces of this volume may be subsumed under the subtitle “Multi(Vocal) Exchanges Across the Atlantic,” giving prominence to the European tesserae that make up the contemporary cultural mosaic of the United States, without neglecting fragments and threads originating in other continents, such as Asia or Africa. On the edge of Europe, our honorees—whose bond of intertwined careers generated abroad the empathetic form of address “the two Teresas”—found a viewpoint from which to extend the fluxes of international American Studies in their own country and abroad.

The first section, titled “Literary Affinities and Transatlantic Cooperation in Academia,” sets out with more personal essays, which give us loving glimpses of these women’s trajectories. The first piece is by senior scholar Maria Helena Paiva Correia, who supervised the doctoral theses of both Teresas, and the second essay by Ana Cristina Alves, the daughter who finds similarities between her mother’s life and that of the heroine created by Amy Tan in her autobiography The Women Warriors. The third and fourth pieces are penned by two of the most prominent Portuguese American writers publishing today, Katherine Vaz and the poet Frank X. Gaspar, both of whom underscore the affective intensity, enthusiasm and buoyancy of their academic ←1 | 2→practice and their interpersonal skills—or, in the words of Teresa F. A. Alves in reference to Frank X. Gaspar: “common experience, cross-textual dialogue, telescopic correspondence, interweaving with the breath of the soul” (Alves 219).

From there, we proceed to Juliet Antunes Sablosky’s informed overview of the importance of “cultural diplomacy” in the circulation of scholarship, and of the standard set by Teresa F. A. Alves and Teresa Cid in that respect, implementing and developing bilateral protocols, as well as promoting and enlarging the scope of international gatherings in the area of American Studies. The essay that follows is a collaborative piece by Georgetown professors from the departments of English, American History and Philosophy, who came regularly to the University of Lisbon to lecture under a memorandum of understanding for research and teaching that the two Teresas succeeded in establishing in the year 1996. Lucy B. Maddox, George O’Brien, Ronald Johnson, and Randy Bass recall their experience in Lisbon, and offer testimony of the seeds of collaboration planted between the two institutions from which it is hoped future joint projects and agreements will still bear fruit. It is only fitting that Laura Pires’s essay on “Friendship Overseas for a Better World” should come next, as this contributor also lectured as an invited professor at Georgetown, and has been fostering for years the continuing collaboration between Portuguese and American Fulbright alumni, a status shared as well by the two Teresas. It is also appropriate that we should now mention a mixed-genre essay by a longtime friend and colleague of our honorees, Heinz Ickstadt, who, upon retirement, has chosen the Brooklyn Bridge as a sort of sounding board for crossings amid different literary influences originating not only in Europe and the United States, but also in other parts of the American continent.

The editors have curated an entire section of formal academic essays, which we have termed “Portuguese American Transits.” According to the Introduction to a previous collection of essays titled Neither Here nor There, Yet Both (2015), which our honorees oversaw, the phrase “Portuguese American” (oftentimes used as a synonym of “Luso American”) can be broadened to an experience that “acknowledges immigration and Portuguese descendancy, but extends to other modes of transnational connectivity, including testimonies of exiles, travelers, and diplomats, as well as literary—or more amply, cultural—translation efforts, back and forth, between Portugal and North America” (Vale de Gato 182). We include here three essays dedicated to the close reading of texts by authors who in one way or another partake of the Lusodiasporic legacy: Almeida and Vale de Gato analyze writings by Elizabeth Bishop, Olga Cabral and Nancy Vieira Couto; Martins expounds ←2 | 3→on the work of Katherine Vaz; and Fazenda Lourenço takes on the poetry of Jorge de Sena, an author conventionally placed in Portuguese literary history, even if the greater part of his career was spent in the United States. Two other essays, by Reinaldo Silva and Edgardo Medeiros da Silva, blend literary and historical critique, offering a socio-cultural analysis of the status of immigrants of Portuguese ancestry as portrayed by Herman Melville. Dulce M. Scott, a sociologist, draws on theories of immigrants’ assimilation and diaspora to situate the cultural allegiances and levels of socioeconomic integration of Portuguese Americans. Finally, Onésimo Teotónio Almeida comments on the prolific career of an academic, poet, translator and dear friend, who sadly passed away while this volume was in the works, George Monteiro. Like our honorees, Monteiro was an American Studies scholar who took an active interest in Portuguese literature and in the Portuguese American experience—though from his own side of the Atlantic, the shores of Rhode Island and Brown University, Providence. It was there that, from the late 1970s, his friendship with Teotónio Almeida grew and built one of the most solid foundations for Portuguese and Brazilian Studies on US academia to this day, most notably graduate and postgraduate programs, a university press, and a literary journal, Gávea-Brown: a Bilingual Journal. Soon, similar efforts sprouted in other Portuguese departments and research centers in universities from coast to coast of the United States and Canada, and our two honorees enthusiastically drew the required synergies to bridge the oceanic gap with continental Portugal. Together, the two Teresas opened up avenues of research and investigation for Portuguese American literature. They promoted the intersection of American Studies with the Lusodiasporic, namely through joint ventures with the editors of the series “Interdisciplinary Studies in Diasporas,” under the auspices of which this volume is brought to light, not to mention the international conferences “Narrating the Portuguese Diaspora,” in Lisbon, in 2008, or “Exploring the Portuguese Diaspora in InterDISCIPLINARY and Comparative Perspectives,” in Indianapolis, in 2013. They, therefore, have consistently contributed to the greater and ever buoyant visibility of Portuguese and other Lusophone descendants in the 21st century, reinforcing, in the words of Teresa Cid, the “conviction that Portuguese American socioeconomic, political, and cultural achievements are actively stepping out of invisibility, gradually building a momentum of affirmation” (Cid 725).

It is thus only right that we should end this volume with “Creative Writing / Textual Diasporas,” giving the floor to the voices of Portuguese American authors, as well as those other writers who have somehow experienced the cultural transits between North America and Portuguese-speaking communities ←3 | 4→around the globe. Among the authors of Portuguese descent, Vieira Couto’s contribution is one of traces, dispersals, and genealogies, intersecting questions of gender, (silenced) female heroism, and hesitant masculinity. With a neocolonial twist, Darrell Kastin’s text addresses the latter concept, while also including a critique of status and class. But perhaps the most poignant attempt at deconstructing gender and ethnic bias is that which we can find in the late Julian Silva’s short story, “My Father the Truck Driver,” which we are pleased to include herein due to the felicity that one of our editors is Silva’s literary trustee. Richard Simas, on the other hand, goes further back in time, turning history on its head and weaving together the evidence and rumors of the Portuguese as explorers who set foot (and drew markings on rocks) on North-American shores early on. Scott Edward Anderson also delves into the mythical aura of the Portuguese as sea voyagers, turning to language as archaeology, ramification, and wave-length continuity, so as to convey the anxiety of modern day travelers caught in the “stormy seas” of the pandemic. Finally, Dean Ellis and Stuart Blazer, two often-time travelers to Portugal (and Brazil, in Dean’s case) draw on Portuguese traditions, literary culture and music to piece together poetically alternative voices.

These creative writing contributions, therefore, dramatize issues of ethnicity, identity and interculturality, enriching the metaphor of the Atlantic Ocean as a space of dialogue rather than struggle, in a world currently more prone to separation and division. The possible “bridging” signified by the ocean is also the theme of the opening contribution by the Portuguese multi-award-winning author Ana Luísa Amaral, who in her poem “Ode to my Hand: Navigations,” poignantly renews a parallel connotation, that of bodies united through a sea of words and texts. We are thus pleased to foreground this volume’s unique feature of including in it texts that are not exclusively academic, and which provide an imaginative backdrop to the scholarly debate on transnational American Studies. As such, we proudly close with the words of Jamie L. Jones, from the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the first readers of this project:


XIV, 248
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2022 (October)
American Studies Portuguese-American Studies Transnational American Studies Transatlantic Studies Diaspora Studies Migration Studies 19th Century US Literature 20tth Century US Literature Portuguese-American Literature Multiculturalism Seafaring in Literature American Studies Over_Seas (Multi)Vocal Exchanges Across the Atlantic Tony McGowan Mário Avelar Margarida Vale de Gato Edgardo Medeiros da Silva In Honor of Teresa F. A. Alves and Teresa Cid
New York, Berlin, Bruxelles, Lausanne, Oxford, 2022. XIV, 248 pp., 10 b/w ill., 7 tables.

Biographical notes

Edgardo da Silva (Volume editor) Margarida Vale de Gato (Volume editor) Mário Avelar (Volume editor) Irene Maria F. Blayer (Volume editor) Dulce Maria Scott (Volume editor) Tony McGowan (Volume editor)

Edgardo Medeiros da Silva, PhD, is Assistant Professor of English at the School of Social and Political Sciences of Universidade de Lisboa and a researcher in American Studies with ULICES—ULisboa Centre for English Studies. Margarida Vale de Gato, PhD, is Assistant Professor in the areas of translation and U.S. literature in the School of Arts and Humanities of Universidade de Lisboa, where she coordinates the American Studies program. Mário Avelar, PhD, is Professor at the School of Arts and Humanities of Universidade de Lisboa, where he is the head of the English Department and director of the PhD and MA programs in this field. Irene Maria F. Blayer, PhD, is Full Professor at Brock University. Her research includes comparative Romance linguistics, linguistic ethnography, diaspora studies, im/migrant narrative discourse, and identity construction. Dulce Maria Scott, PhD, is Full Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Anderson University. Her research has focused on immigration, race, and ethnicity in the United States, including immigrant women, Hispanic ethnic entrepreneurship in central Indiana, and Portuguese Americans. Tony McGowan, PhD, is Associate Professor of English at West Point, where he co-directs the Diversity and Inclusion minor. He teaches American literature and critical theory, and his most recent publication on Melville appeared in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies.


Title: American Studies Over_Seas 2: (Multi)Vocal Exchanges Across the Atlantic