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Intersecting Diaspora Boundaries

Portuguese Contexts

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Edited By Irene Maria F. Blayer and Dulce Maria Scott

This collection of essays provides both critical and interdisciplinary means for thinking across diasporic travels within the Portuguese experience and its intersection with other peoples and cultures. The chapters are organized into four sections and offer rich, diverse, and insightful studies that provide a conceptualization of the Portuguese diaspora with special attention to the importance of cross-cultural interferences and influences. Within this framework, and from a variety of perspectives, some of the chapters depict identity-formation paths among Portuguese Jews and Luso-Indians in Australia, as well as the historical, cultural, and literary interplay among Portuguese and other diasporas in Goa, the West Indies, and Brazil. Other chapters analyze Portuguese-American literature and poetry, whereby the intersection of memory, dual identity, and place are meticulously explored. The last section of the book addresses Portuguese writers and poets who lived through (in)voluntary exile or were dislocated to Europe and Asia, and how their diasporic conditions interface with their textualized narratives. Place and memory as means of reconstructing a fragmented existence, in the writings of exiled writers, are also explored. The volume closes with a chapter on Portuguese illegal migration to France. The studies herein open new lines of inquiry into diaspora studies.
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Chapter Eight: Intercultural and Hybrid Poetics in David Oliveira’s Poetry: From Azorean “Ethnic Signs” within American Literature to Life in Cambodia

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CHAPTER  EIGHT

Intercultural AND Hybrid Poetics IN David Oliveira’s Poetry

From Azorean “Ethnic Signs” within American Literature to Life in Cambodia

REINALDO SILVA

 

Of the few contemporary American poets of Portuguese descent, such as the acclaimed Frank Gaspar, Thomas Braga, Sam Pereira, and a few lesser-known names, in my estimation David Oliveira’s (1946–) poetic voice seems to be the one that really comes close to Holly E. Martin’s analysis of hybridity in literature. In Writing between Cultures: A Study of Hybrid Narratives in Ethnic Literature of the United States, Martin contends that most

of the fictional characters discussed in this book could be identified with the category of ethnic pride and consciousness, because they live as self-identified members of a specific minority ethnic group, maintain ties with their ethnic culture, and yet fully view themselves as U.S. Americans with an integral role in U.S. history and culture. As such, they have chosen to integrate the different cultures that shape their identities rather than to allow one or the other to dominate. Authors writing about characters with this sense of group identity, who also view themselves as both ethnic and U.S. American, produce many of the works discussed here as examples of hybrid perspectives in ethnic U.S. literature. (85)

David Oliveira does exactly this in In the Presence of Snakes (2000), A Little Travel Story (2008), and, to some extent, in an earlier...

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