Of all the oddball poets (admittedly, quite a large group) Fernando Pessoa's reputation as one of the oddest of them all is well-earned; while many writers ply their craft under false names, Pessoa assumed entire false identities, which he called heteronyms.
Personally, I had never even heard of him (obscure Portugese poets who've been dead for 70 years get so little press in Canada) until I was introduced to him by my friend Laura Cardoso, who was in the same writing group as me. She referenced him in a poem she wrote for me, in part because she'd noticed I did something similar.
Thanks to these heteronyms, it's virtually impossible to know anything about his real life, which may have been the point. One of these personae is obviously homoerotic; so is that Pessoa, attempting to flesh out that part of human experience, or is it a sad closet case's plea for help?
It may be both; it may be neither... Who the fuck knows with a poet, eh?
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