Living with Poetry

There’s a great bookstore chain I visit when I go to São Paulo, Brazil called Livraria da Vila.

What draws you in at first are the front doors themselves which are giant rotating bookshelves:

photo from

bookstore photos from

But the stores inside are great too….

The last time I was there, I picked up this book of poetic thoughts by Mario Quintana called Para viver com poesia (‘To live with poetry’- my translation).

As today is World Poetry Day, I offer you little snippets from the book with my rough translation:

“As crianças não brincam de brincar. Brincam de verdade….” (Children do not play at playing. They play for real.)

“O mistério faz parte da beleza.” (Mystery is part of beauty.)

“Um dia de chuva é bom para a gente comprar livros de poemas…” (A rainy day is a good day for us to buy poetry books…..)

Good advice!

Happy World Poetry Day!

91 thoughts on “Living with Poetry

  1. Oh my, what a gorgeous bookstore! I will have to share this with my husband and friends. They will love the design—and the poetry, of course. I’m looking forward to April bringing showers of poetry in the U.S. Thanks for an early taste!

    My 9-yr-old son is doing his “Global Village” project on Paraty, Brazil. I believe it’s just to the northeast of São Paulo on the coast. Are you familiar with the area?

    • I went to Paraty as a young child so don’t remember much, but it’s a beautiful place. Hopefully, you can bring your son there one day! What a fun project for him to be involved in!

  2. I am taking my 2 yr old granddaughter to a book store this afternoon to pick out some new books. Her response yesterday when I announced our plan was …her words …Awesome. It should be fun.
    Love your pictures L.

  3. We should always be surrounded with walls and doors of books! I love those lines: “Children do not play at playing. They play for real.” Really so true, but I never thought of it that way before, which is one of the wonderful things about poetry – that chance to see everything differently. Happy Poetry Day!

    • That line immediately grabbed my attention when I first skimmed the book. You are so right, poetry does help us see things in a new light. Happy Poetry Day to you!

    • So true! And those doors are so cool, aren’t they? Even when one of the bookstores is in a mall, it still stands out and still manages to be beautiful because of the doors.

  4. Thanks so much for the photos. It looks like an amazing bookstore! 🙂 Funny, but as I looked at the photos, I could smell the room. I doubt it’s the authentic smell, but I certainly had a pleasant olfactory reaction based on what I imagine it smells like.

    • How fascinating that you had an olfactory reaction to the photos! I don’t remember the smell if those particular bookstores but I do love the smell of bookstores in general 🙂

  5. I LOVE bookstores. This one is so visually appealing, it would take me a while to even get close enough to look at the books! But then I would have to look for a long time and plan to ship a bunch home.

  6. What a brilliant store. What a beautiful cover on the poetry book you bought – and how apt that it should be a picture of the merry-go-round to match the bookcases in the entrance of the shops! Fabulous post, thanks.

  7. I didn’t know it was World Poetry day on the first day of Spring…….
    What a beautiful bookshop! Para bens para os Brasileiros para tener lugares tan lindos para os libros. When I think that most of them are closing in NY!!!
    I love the yellow stairs and the doors like bookshelves and the round bookshelves..! And of course the poems…
    A great way to start Spring!

    • It’s true, it is a wonderful way to start Spring and a new year of poetry and of nature waking up after this long winter- how lovely to think of that!

  8. How beautiful! I’ve never seen a bookshop designed like that before; it really does give the sense of entering a world of reading. And a rainy day is always good for reading.

    • I love browsing the books there (and I don’t even read Portuguese with the greatest ease!) but some of their stores (the photos are a collection of different stores) are quite heavenly, you’re right, Britt!

    • That’s true, Christy; it IS fun to people-watch in bookstores! People get so involved in searching for and reading books that they forget they are in public at times and get so comfortable. Perhaps that is why there are sofas in some stores!

    • It’s a great chain of book stores (some are bigger than others, but they all have those cool doors!). I know, I wish my town had more bookstores too… sigh….

    • I can’t remember seeing any armchairs or sofas, but if they do, people would never leave, that’s so true. Each of their stores is a little different but it’s a fun chain!

  9. Comfy chairs & coffee. Then surely no one would dare leave without buying a book. Surely if bookstores like this can still turn a profit then the future of print books is safe.

  10. the needed poetry for daily living…I don’t like São Paulo city, so big, almost only done of edifices and builts. But Livraria da Vila is one of my pleasant visits when I travel to that city. I like bookstores, but I love librairies. You picked up the work of Mario Quintana. He lived his almost entire life in Porto Alegre, where I live. I could talk with him sometimes, he was so elderly!, and lived in a hotel!, at downtown. I could mention other writers, but I want to place some writing and poems of the so dear and lovely Mario. “Comunicação”…”O público ledor (existe mesmo!), é sensorial: quer ter um autor ao vivo, em carne e osso. Quando este morre, há uma queda de popularidade em termos de venda. Ou, quando teatrólogo, em termos de espetáculo. Um exemplo: G. B. Shaw. E, entre nós, o suave fantasma de Cecília Meireles recém está se materializando, tantos anos depois. Isto apenas vem provar que a leitura é um remédio para a solidão em que vive cada um de nós neste formigueiro. Claro que não me estou referindo a essa vulgar comunicação festiva e efervescente. Porque o autor escreve, antes de tudo, para expressar-se. Sua comunicação com o leitor decorre unicamente daí. Por afinidades. É como, na vida, se faz um amigo”…and, “Da Comunicação Imediata”…”Para o perfeito leitor, a palavra “árvore” não significa uma árvore: a palavra “árvore” é uma árvore”, and, “Sonho”…”Um poema em que não se notasse nem a suspeita ênfase da simplicidade e que, ao lê-lo, nem sentirias que ele já estivesse escrito, mas que fosse brotando, no mesmo instante, de teu próprio coração”. I transcribed from the book “Da Preguiça Como Método de Trabalho”, ed. Globo (1987). That last writing remembered me our conversation about dream and dreamer, dream and whose write the dream. I can write a dream. That writing is no more the dream itself. Mario Quintana used to write short paragraphs, most of the poetic work is free verse. Letizia, thanks for share. I appreciate your work so much. Your work is important for a better world, a better living. Congratulations. Another important post. Another important share of your work, your oeuvre, your fine écriture. All the best! Walter

    • Isso e tao interessante que voce mora na mesma cidade que ele e falou com ele! Eu so tenho este livro um dos seus, mas eu adoro le-lo – Eu amo o jeito que ele escreve, e isso nao e muito dificil para mim entender, mesmo com meu Português limitada.

      Muito obrigada por incluir parte do outro livro! Eu gosto especialmente as linhas:”Um poema em que não se notasse nem a suspeita ênfase da simplicidade e que, ao lê-lo, nem sentirias que ele já estivesse escrito, mas que fosse brotando, no mesmo instante, de teu próprio coração”

      Eu sempre gosto de seu comentarios, Walter!

  11. Oh my god I love this post, I have to add this place to my list of place to visit, it is a dream! Perfect book and quotes for poetry, I going to look for that book going to book store see if I can find it ;).

    P.S. I miss this post I think is my reader…it makes me mad, but got here. We should celebrate words every day!

  12. Had I not come across people like you, I would have been happily basking in all-what-I-have-seen 😉
    What an amazing place to be! Being at a bookshop brings out the child in us- the way we as kids used to be excited about visiting an eatery or a library, and if the bookstore is as innovative as this- wow ! This should definitely be on the places-to-visit-before-I-turn-40 list 🙂 Adorable. All thanks to you…

    And poetry 🙂 Ohh well… I watched The Dead Poets Society as a kid who did not know English language at all. Have been in love with English, and poetry ever since.

    • You are so right, Tatsat; visiting a beautiful bookstore feels just like visiting a candy store when I was a little child! 🙂 That is the perfect comparison. You just want to gobble up everything in sight!

  13. Doors are the new shelves, I love it! What bliss. Homes for books, even if temporary can be so beautiful.

    I was just making a virtual tour yesterday of the beautiful library in Bangor, Maine after reading that Stephen King and his wife have donated £3m towards it’s renovation, nothing like this, but what a wonderful environment to spend time with books.

    • I will have to look at the library in Bangor, Maine as I have not seen it yet. How wonderful that Stephen King and his wife donated so much for its renovation!

  14. Thought about you with my post yesterday. Wish I could have posted it on World Poetry Day, but as it has to do with the olfactory senses, seemed appropriate, if not belated. Cooking and Poetry. 🙂

    • Thanks- there’s nothing like a great bookstore. One can spend hours walking around and looking at all the books. The hard part is deciding which ones to buy and take home!

    • Jana e Jaime,
      Obrigada por suas belas palavras sobre meu blog – e eu estava tao feliz ao descobrir seus blog – ele e realmente lindo! Eu amo o layout ea combinacao de fotografias e palavras poeticas. Eu estou ansioso para seguir junto.

      Desculpe meu Portugues-nao e o meu melhor linguagem (eu sou frances), mas eu amo usa-lo sempre que posso 🙂

      • Oi, Letizia, nós é que agradecemos. Não se preocupe com o português, você escreve muito bem e se entende tudo perfeitamente. Esperamos poder trocar mais mensagens com você futuramente. Abraços, Jana e Jaime

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