Autumn 2004 (12.3)
Left: Marissom Ricardo Roso who received the Destaque
award in Sao Borja, Brazil, for translating Nizami's "Leyli and
Majnun" into Brazilian Portuguese. He was honored at City Ball
on September 20, 2004. His sister, Jacqueline Roso, a lawyer,
celebrated the occasion with him.
Twelfth century Azerbaijani
poet Nizami once wrote that he had never traveled beyond his
hometown of Ganja, which is located in present-day northwestern
Azerbaijan. However, that narrow perimeter hasn't kept Nizami's
ageless literary works from being translated and traveling the
world more than 800 years later. The latest journey takes him
to São Borja in southern Brazil, close to the borders
of Uruguay and Argentina. Recently, the translation of one of
his most famous works "Leyli & Majnun" into Portuguese provided
an excuse to bestow upon the translator one of the city's most
Each year, members of the Ivan Goulart
Beneficent Society (Sociedade Beneficente Ivan Goulart) in São
Borja identify outstanding citizens who have made unique contributions
to the community and they honor them at the Highlight's Ball
(Baile dos Destaques). Trophies are presented to individuals,
who are identified for their contribution, competency, honesty,
responsibility and integration of projects into the community.
The awards are given to outstanding professionals, musicians,
poets, artists, politicians, doctors, lawyers and others.
This year Marissom Ricardo Roso was among the 17 recipients of
the Special Highlight Trophy (Destaque Especial) of the Priest
Francisco Garsia Trophy. The award was presented on September
4, 2004. Marissom was honored for translating Nizami's "Leyli
and Majnun" into Brazilian Portuguese. His translation is based
on Colin Turnbull's English prose version from Persian. Nizami,
whose mother tongue was Azeri, wrote in Persian, which was the
literary language of the day. Marissom's Portuguese translation
resulted in a 184-page book, which Zahar Press of Rio de Janeiro
published in 2003.
Marissom himself is not a translator by profession. But like
many other Brazilians, he loves Eric Clapton's music and was
especially attracted to the popular song, "Leyla". When he discovered
the lyrics were based on Nizami's poetry of "Leyli and Majnun",
he found the English version and upon reading it, felt such a
close affinity with the 800-year-old work that he wanted to make
it available for Portuguese speakers. Nizami's story of "Leyli
and Majnun" is often compared to Shakespeare's drama of Romeo
and Juliet, though Nizami precedes the British bard by 400 years.
In his acceptance speech, Marissom quoted Nizami: "The word,
though new is, at the same time, old. The word, like the spirit,
is a treasury of the riches of the invisible realm" (from
Nizami's "Seven Beauties").
The Ivan Goulart Beneficent Society was founded in 1981 and is
currently directed by Maria de Fátima Streck. Its goal
is to provide assistance to poorer members of the community in maternity, pediatrics and the public health service related
to the Ivan Goulart Hospital. The awards are given in memory
of Francisco Garcia, the Jesuit priest, who founded the mission
of São Francisco de Borja in the late 1600s.
Marissom is also a contributor to the local newspaper Folha de
São Borja. The city, São Borja, though relatively
small with a population only 68,000, is historically and politically
revered as it gave Brazil two of its Presidents - Getúlio
Vargas and João Goulart.
(1) Search AZER.com. Crazy
About 'Layla': Eric Clapton's Song Inspired by Nizami, 12th century
Azerbaijani Poet, Autumn 1998 (6.3).
(2) Search at AZERI.org: Introduction
and first chapter of Marissom's translation in Portuguese of
Nizami's Leyli and Majnun.
Marissom's translation in Portuguese: Laila & Majnun: A Classical
Historia de Amor Da Literatura Persa by Nizami. Published by
Jorge Zahar: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2003. ISBN 85-7110-688-6,
soft bound, 184 pages.
From Azerbaijan International (12.3) Autumn 2004.
© Azerbaijan International 2004. All rights reserved.
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