Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) ranks with the most important
Modernist poets of the 20th century. His celebrity is partly due to the way in which he wrote his work,
using different names, or 'heteronyms', corresponding to various personalities which he invented.
"A poet is a pretender", he wrote in a famous poem.
Some of the verse extracts which appear in this pack of
cards belong to those other personalities of Pessoa's world: Alberto Caiero, Álvaro de Campos,
Bernardo Soares and Ricardo Reis.
The designer of the pack, Pedro Baptista, succeeds well in
capturing the essence of a poet's mind in a visual form. The verses are set in a typewriter font,
aesthetically quaint and unpretentious, against soft, unfocused 'photograms' occupying the entire
card face. This conveys a sense of thoughts floating in imaginary dimensions of space - cyberspace
perhaps. Corner indices, also in typewriter, and discrete pips finish off the arrangement.
On the back, an ink splotch on a pale cream background, fallen no doubt from the poet's poised pen,
conspiring, with the typewriter, against modern technology.
Above: seven cards and a joker from Fernando Pessoa &
Co playing cards.
The text in the leaflet is by Manuela Parreira da Silva, an expert on the work of Fernando
Pessoa and a teacher of modern literature in the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. The cards are
manufactured to a very high standard of quality by Naipes H Fournier in a limited edition of 5,500 packs of which 3,500 are in Portuguese and 1,000 each in English
and Spanish. They come in a sturdy tuck box, cellowrapped, 52 cards + 3 jokers + leaflet. The
price is: € 13,72 plus postage and handling: Europe € 4,20 and rest of the World €
5,30. Available from: Apenas Livros, Alameda das Linhas de Torres 97-3° dto, 1750-140 LISBOA,
Portugal ([email protected]).