Daniel Faria was born in 1971 and died young, in 1999, at the Benedictine Monastery of Singeverga near Oporto. He graduated in Theology from the Universidade Católica and then took a degree in Portuguese Studies at the Universidade do Porto. When still a student he won prizes for his poetry, but he considered Explanation of Trees and of Other Animals (1998) to be his first mature work.
The poet’s project and concerns are well expressed in the poem from his inaugural book that begins “I walk a little above the ground/ In that place where birds/ Are usually hit”. The poet, without leaving earth, aspires to the spiritual, the sublime, heaven. Or he wishes to bring heaven down to earth, to interpret his (and all) earthly experience in more-than-material terms. He hovers between, in the place of utter vulnerability, somewhat like a Christ figure (“I pour blood into my words”), like a sacrificial victim (“I squeeze my heart out for what descends on me/ And drinks”), or like a prophet (“A passer-by one invisible step above earth”). He does not quite know what the message is, but he believes in grace.
Very unlike other Portuguese poets who emerged in the 1990s, Daniel Faria is not interested in the everyday world for its own sake. Or, to put it more accurately, the everyday world is for him full of symbolic significance. He is a romantic visionary, a mystic in the tradition of St. John of the Cross, Hölderlin, Rilke and – in Portugal – Teixeira de Pascoaes and Herberto Helder. His ‘explanation’ is a metaphysical exploration, but his poetry does not soar with the confidence of Rilke. He has less certainty, his hope is more fragile, and in this sense he resembles other poets of his generation. Poetry is his vehicle for searching, with verses that are like paths cutting through the silence, the mystery.
Explicação das árvores e outros animais, 1998.
Homens que são como lugares mal situados, 1998.
Dos líquidos (posthumous), 2000 .
Poesia. Quasi Edições, Famalicão 2003. Includes all the work from the previous three titles, plus youthful and previously unpublished work.
Anthologie de la jeune poésie portugaise. Maison de la poésie Rhône-Alpes, Saint-Martin-d’Hères 2004.
Websites featuring Daniel Faria
A website dedicated to Faria's life and work