In an exclusive interview, Fabrício Corsaletti, who won of the Book of the Year category at the Jabuti Award 2023, talks about the future and his creative process

02/02/2024

“Sometimes, some poems come ready or almost ready. They can be good or not. I don’t reject anything. Any idea, any spark of poetry, I put it on paper and keep it”. This is how Fabrício Corsaletti, a Brazilian poet and writer, describes his writing process. Last year, he took home the Jabuti Award 2023 trophy, the highest accolade in Brazilian literature.

Fabrício published his first book, “Movediço” (Slippy), in 2001. In the following years, he also released works such as “Zoo” in 2005 and “Golpe de Ar” (Air Blow) in 2009. However, in 2023, after being awarded with the Jabuti in the Best Poetry Book and Book of the Year categories, for his most recent work “Engenheiro Fantasma” (Ghost Engineer), released by Companhia das Letras in 2022, Corsaletti achieved an unprecedented milestone in his career. In the poems of the book, the author envisions himself as Bob Dylan during a supposed season in Argentina.

In addition to the golden statuette, Fabrício was also awarded a participation in the next edition of the Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the world’s largest literary fairs, scheduled to take place from October 16 to 20, 2024. This experience will mark a new chapter in his career, allowing international editors to closely acquaint themselves with his remarkable literary production.

In an exclusive interview, Corsaletti shares insights into his creative process, the inspiration behind “Engenheiro Fantasma” (Ghost Engineer) and his future prospects in writing, which include two new books. Check out the full interview below:

BP: What was the creative process behind “Engenheiro Fantasma” (Ghost Engineer)?

Fabrício: As I narrate in the prologue of the book, I wrote the 56 sonnets that compose “Engenheiro Fantasma” (Ghost Engineer) over nine days in September 2020, during the pandemic. I would probably never have written this book if it weren’t for the almost twenty years I’ve dedicated to listening, analyzing, and studying Bob Dylan’s songs and if I hadn’t spent six months in Buenos Aires in 2005 when I was 26. In that sense, the inspiration is Bob Dylan’s work and the city of Buenos Aires, where the scenes of the poems are set.

BP: Was there any specific moment or experience that propelled the conception of this book?

Fabrício: I dreamt that Bob Dylan had self-exiled to Buenos Aires at the end of the 20th century and that during his season in Buenos Aires, he had written and published a book of sonnets titled “200 Sonnets”. The sonnets in my book are an attempt to write part of Dylan’s book.

BP: How would you describe the poetic style in “Engenheiro Fantasma” (Ghost Engineer)?

Fabrício: Readers and critics can analyze my work. It’s not for me to do that. What I can say is that it was the first time I wrote sonnets, the old Italian fixed form. I tried to make them sound contemporary, agile, full of unexpected turns of topics and tones, which is how I see certain songs by Bob Dylan.

BP: How did winning the Jabuti Award in the Poetry and Book of the Year categories in 2023 impact you as an author?

Fabrício: I was surprised and happy with the awards. It’s recognition, and being recognized is always good. Moreover, awards create interest in the awarded book. You finally get read, which is almost a miracle, and being read is the greatest prize. Knowing that “Engenheiro Fantasma” (Ghost Engineer) is already in its second edition makes me very satisfied.

BP: Can you share a bit about your creative process when developing poems? Any routine or ritual that contributes to your inspiration?

Fabrício: I write almost every day. Either I work on unfinished poems or start a new one. I have a file full of poems, and whenever I can, I spend a few hours on it, tweaking, trying to get the right rhythm for one, improving an image for another, etc. Sometimes, some poems come ready or almost ready. They can be good or not. I don’t reject anything. Any idea, any spark of poetry, I put it on paper and keep it. Later, over time, I see if it’s worth it or not, if I should throw it away or publish it in the next book. In the end, I work and work and work, and perhaps by working quite a bit, the muses give me a boost from time to time.

BP: Are you already working on new projects? Is there something readers can expect from your work in the future?

Fabrício: I’m finishing a third book of chronicles and a new poetry book. Perhaps a new children’s poetry book will also be released later this year, which is already with the publisher.

BP: How do you perceive readers’ interaction with “Engenheiro Fantasma” (Ghost Engineer)? Was there any response or feedback that impacted you particularly?

Fabrício: Some people have told me they consider “Engenheiro Fantasma” (Ghost Engineer) my best book. I think I agree. But the truth is, it doesn’t do me well to pay too much attention to others’ opinions. Right now, I’m working on another book. So I try to concentrate on it, on the present book. I can’t be too attached to a book from three, four years ago. Otherwise, it would interfere with my writing.

BP: What are your expectations for this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair? Is there anything specific you hope to experience or achieve during the event?

Fabrício: I have never been to Frankfurt. So, my plan is simply to explore the fair and the city. Perhaps make contact with new poets. Hopefully, generate interest from some foreign publishers and see “Engenheiro Fantasma” (Ghost Engineer) translated into another language.