Translating Florbela: Book Launch of This Sorrow That Lifts Me Up

Portuguese poet Florbela Espanca’s work speaks passionately of longing, love, and sexual liberation against the backdrop of the roaring twenties. Yet, paradoxically, she felt more at home expressing herself in the traditional sonnet-form than through modernist free verse. A contemporary of the multifaceted Fernando Pessoa, her contribution to the shifting landscape of cultural modernity has been long overlooked.  

In this week’s session, we were joined by Prof Cláudia Pazos-Alonso and Prof Simon Park who shared with us their reflections on the challenges of preparing This Sorrow That Lifts Me Up (Shantarin, 2022)—a bilingual anthology of Florbela Espanca’s poetry. The session was chaired by Prof Adriana X. Jacobs.


Cláudia Pazos-Alonso is Professor of Portuguese and Gender Studies at Wadham College, Oxford. Her publications range across Lusophone literature and culture from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. Her first monograph was titled Imagens do Eu na Poesia de Florbela Espanca (1997) and her latest, Francisca Wood and Nineteenth-Century Periodical Culture. Pressing for Change, was published with Legenda in 2020. In Portugal, she was jointly responsible for editions of Florbela Espanca and Judith Teixeira, and in the US for the introduction to the short-story collection Exemplary Tales by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen.

Simon Park is Associate Professor in Medieval and Renaissance Portuguese at the University of Oxford and Tutorial Fellow at St Anne’s College. He is the translator of Florbela Espanca This Sorrow That Lifts Me Up and a collection of poems from the Alentejo region. His research has covered literature and the visual arts from the medieval period to the twentieth century. His first monograph, Poets, Patronage, and Print in Sixteenth-Century Portugal: From Paper to Gold was published with OUP in 2021.

Adriana X. Jacobs is Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature and author of Strange Cocktail: Translation and the Making of Modern Hebrew Poetry (University of Michigan Press, 2018). Her translations of contemporary Hebrew poetry include Vaan Nguyen's The Truffle Eye (Zephyr Press, 2021), for which she was awarded the 2022 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Merav Givoni Hrushovski's End— (Carrion Bloom Books, 2022).