Claudia S.

Designer & Illustrator

85

10

I don’t know how many souls I have

I. Share your text. – I don't know how many souls I am

I don’t know how many souls I have.

I’ve changed at every moment.

I always feel like a stranger.

I’ve never seen or found myself.

From being so much, I have only soul.

A man who has soul has no calm.

A man who sees is just what he sees.

A man who feels is not who he is.


Attentive to what I am and see,

I become them and stop being I.

Each of my dreams and each desire

Belongs to whoever had it, not me.

I am my own landscape,

I watch myself journey -

Various, mobile, and alone. 

Here where I am I can’t feel myself.


That’s why I read, as a stranger,

My being as if it were pages.

Not knowing what will come

And forgetting what has passed,

I note in the margin of my reading 

What I thought I felt.

Rereading, I wonder: “Was that me?”

God knows, because he wrote it.

© Translation: 1998, Richard Zenith

From: Fernando Pessoa & Co. – Selected Poems

Publisher: Grove Press, New York, 1998, 0-8021-3627-3

II. Share your annotations.

Key Words – Soul, Eye, Lost, Pages, Margin, "I’ve never seen or found myself", Search, Books, Uncertainty, Way, Melancholy.

Consider the title – I don’t know how many souls I have

Idea of counting and inner search. Who I am?

Small serif? Hand written? Multiple heads? Labyrinth? Pencil illustration? Multiply effect? Numbers? Questions?

III. Share your sketches. 

IV. Share your early designs.

Wrap a book

Mock-up with some of the favourites.

V. Share your final designs.

So… I was quite confused between the final three because I really like the effect of large numbers on the cover almost falling off, the idea of continuing to write compulsively. On the other side, I have to admit that the first cover is actually the one that is more faithful to the author, "Pessoa was a prolific writer, and not only under his own name, for he dreamed up approximately seventy-five others. These imaginary figures sometimes held unpopular or extreme views. 'Fernando Pessoa-himself' is not the 'real' Fernando Pessoa. Like Caeiro, Reis and Campos — Pessoa 'himself' embodies only aspects of the poet Fernando Pessoa's personality is not stamped in any given voice; his personality is diffused through the heteronyms. For this reason 'Fernando Pessoa-himself' stands apart from the poet proper. Like Álvaro de Campos, Pessoa-himself was afflicted with an acute identity crisis. Pessoa-himself has been described as indecisive and doubt plagued, as restless. Like Campos he can be melancholic, weary, resigned. The strength of Pessoa-himself's poetry rests in his ability to suggest a sense of loss; of sorrow for what can never be… a sense of the finality of failure; of the impossibility of having anything to want."

In that sense this is the cover that would present someone as the final one. Here I tried to convey the idea of soul-searching, the idea of the poet who seek to discover himself on the poem, who writes incessantly on paper, scratching and scribbling in their personal uncertainties. 

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