Letter: Four poets united by one writer

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Sir: As a Portuguese living in Britain, I was happy to see a full page dedicated to the novelist Jose Saramago ('The year of the death of Ricardo Reis', 31 July).

In the article, Ricardo Reis is described as one of the pseudonyms of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. However, Ricardo Reis is instead one of his heteronyms. From the introduction to a book of his poetry: 'He (Fernando Pessoa) accepted the dividedness of a human self so completely that he did something unique: wrote poetry under four names - his own and three 'heteronyms'. Not pseudonyms: they are imaginary poets with real poems in them. Fernando Pessoa was four poets in one: Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis, Alvaro de Campos and himself; each strongly distinct from the others.'

Maybe the Independent would like to tell its readers more about this fascinating poet(s).

Yours faithfully,

ELSA MARIA JOAO

London, W12

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