4 – Pau-Brasil

Two years after the Modern Art Week, the Rio de Janeiro newspaper Correio da Manhã published the “Manifesto da Poesia Pau-Brasil” [“Brazilwood Poetry Manifesto”] on March 18, 1924. Oswald de Andrade, author of the manifesto, then released it as a book, with drawings by Tarsila do Amaral. To the poetry of import, so practiced until then, the Oswaldian recipe contrasted the poem of export, with the freshness of a vegetable totem, made of dye-wood, the first exported product and the fascination of the new land. According to one of Oswald’s quotes, spatial alterity allowed him to see better, with “free eyes”: “If anything I brought back from my trips to Europe between two wars, it was Brazil itself.”

How do these “free eyes” allow us to see football in the 1920s?

In Oswald's poetics, a number of references make use of the way of language and communication of journalism and the headlines of newspapers to report the universe of football in the daily life of the city. The first passage by Oswald de Andrade that uses a journalistic catchphrase is entitled: “And Europe bowed to Brazil”. Oswald telegraphically recorded the country's football successes abroad, with reference to the excursion of the São Paulo amateur club, Club Athletico Paulistano, to the European continent in 1925.

Such verses appear in “Light Poles”, from the mid-1920s, a period in which electricity and stadium lighting allowed night games. The title of the poem – “And Europe bowed to Brazil” – alludes to an expression common in newspapers of the time, since the Brazilian aviator Santos Dumont crossed the airs of Paris and rounded the Eiffel Tower with his Santos-Dumont No. 6.