Josely Vianna Baptista was Born in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil, in 1957. She studied Spanish and Spanish American Literature, and Guarani Language and Culture at the Federal University of Paraná. She has authored more than one hundred translations, including work by Julio Cortázar, Alejo Carpentier, and Augusto Roa Bastos. Notably, she translated the complete poetry of Jorge Luis Borges, which earned her Brazil’s highest literary award, the Jabuti Prize, in 1999.
Baptista own work was translated and published in English-language anthologies such as Nothing the Sun Could Not Explain: 20 Contemporary Brazilian Poets (1997) and The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry (2009), in which she was the only Brazilian representative of her generation.
Her poetry was influenced by Brazilian Concrete Poetry, a movement that also had a major impact on her translation work. Baptista’s work likewise references the Ibero-American baroque, along with its complex discourse on the “discovery” and history of the New World and colonial formations.
Beyond Western paradigms, Baptista is concerned with incorporating nature motifs and elements of Amerindian culture in her poetry, with an emphasis on indigenous languages, myths and songs. Indigenous themes, natural landscapes, multisensorial ambience, and environmental issues arising from exploitation of the “New World” are paramount in her poetry.
Among her poetry books, are: Ar (1991), Corpografia (1992), Outro (2001), Sol sobre nuvens (2007), and Roça Barroca (2011).