Poet of our time
by Wilson Martins

(…) In the case of Affonso Romano de Sant'Anna, (Que país é este and Outros Poemas. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1980.) there can be no doubt whatsoever: he is not only the poet of our times, integrated in their problems and perplexities in the successive uncertainties in which certainties gradually are resolved but he is also the great Brazilian poet for whom we have been waiting. The secret of his extraordinary quality as a poet is that he, first of all is a high level intellectual without any of the mental ingenuities which maintain current production at the low level of small domestic emotions and miocroscopic dimensions of insignificant autobiographies.

(...) The "país" (country) of Afonso Romano de San'Anna even granting it the space which is due to ironic illusions, is not the "fatherland" of the Parnasian poet, but neither does it cease to be it: a different vocabulary reveals a setting in different historic times in which one and the other lived and thought. (…)The truth is that in all his works since Canto e Palavra (1965) he is the most Brazilian of all our poets of the last 30 years, the one in whose works Brazil is a mythical reality, acting and throbbing, the sense of which he tries to interpret.(…)

(...) Literature submits its myths to reality, and great poets like Affonso Romano de Sant'Anna re-elaborate the coarse reality which is transient and rapidly changing, into the permanent texts of the literature which survive the city and the days.

in: Jornal do Brasil, caderno B, 4/10/1980