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Maria Teresa Horta

Magazine Art + Culture Interviews | 16 Nov 2016



The poetess in which the language becomes body, for those who writing is a place of fruition, space where words merge into one another, they enmesh and light on fire, woman in demand of freedom and beauty, the feminine voice which takes on in its entirety the social, political and public role, Maria Teresa Horta allows the poem to unravel and to express in every sense, allowing her to be exposed, passionate and free.
In this gorgeous and enriched language that is ours, Maria Teresa Horta makes desire lyrical and audible, the pleasures expressed in the feminine. In the scream of a woman who establishes herself as an entity, with the capacity and the power to reveal her essence as a subject and as a thinking being. 

When, in 1971, you decided together with Maria Isabel Barreno and Maria Velho da Costa to write a book with six hands inspired on the book Lettre Portugaises, did you expect the reaction that Novas Cartas Portuguesas obtained?

During the time of fascism, any writer who decided to focus on forbidden themes, and everything was forbidden, believed that reaction to be expectable. The Novas Cartas Portuguesas (The Three Marias: New Portuguese Letters) had as impulse the reaction that was given to my book Minha Senhora de Mim (My Lady of Me). When that book was published it provoked a cataclysm. I was persecuted, beaten and threatened. Myself, as well as Maria Isabel Barreno and Maria Velho da Costa got together weekly and had a project of a joint writing. We didn`t know yet what theme we would be writing about. After the reaction to my book My Lady of Me, Maria Velho de Costa says, “How is it possible that one woman alone could stir up all this noise? What would happen if there were three?” This is how we began to write the Novas Cartas, with full awareness of the public consequences. 

The character of Mariana Alcoforado served as a motto for your book, where you question the concept of the feminine, normal in the 16th century and not so distant for the 70s in the twentieth century. Does that parallelism actually exist? 

Mariana Alcoforado was used as a touchstone. She was chosen because of the parallelism that was possible to establish between the women of the 16th century and those of the 70s. Parallelism in terms of the condition of the woman in society; her objectification. Mariana was sent to a convent by her father and was incarcerated. During fascism women were submitted to a system of force, there role was as subalterns and they too were incarcerated. 

The theme of the female body is transversal in your work. What made you choose this eroticism?

One does not choose. It happens. I am a woman of the senses and have always written poetry of the body. My poetry is socially very intervenient. I have always written about freedom, passion, the body, woman`s situation, the country. There are poems that are facts and there are those which are built. Poems that are facts are unchangeable, they are done, and anything we change is negative. There are other poems, the majority that people create. But a poem cannot be ordered. It is born, it unravels. It awakens me during the night. More and more poetry is a constant presence in me.

Featured in ROOF 5






Text: Paula Monteiro
Photography: Miguel Costa

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