The First World War, a very complex conflict and a absurd and incredibly bloodthirsty gone through Europe, was an apocalyptic event without any doubt. It is unlikely to have been the first of its kind, but is notable for its scale: millions of dead and wounded, calcined cities, economies destroyed, crushed or "betrayed" revolutions. In this History as a sea water murky and turbulent, the vision becomes essential tool and Art wins a new possibility tied to clairvoyance, revelation, extrasensory perception, visionary activity. The Art of this kind of crisis that was Expressionism, especially in its German setting was in this sense a perfect creative expression to the distressed historical moment on the eve of the First World War. Initially a visual expression, the expressionism soon expanded to creative universes multifaceted as film and poetry and philosophy, the short time of an explosion or a lapse look capable of upsetting our perception of reality, since the expressionist proposal was to expand the subversion of the Art sphere in the galleries to political reform guided by pacifism and utopian, unrealizable systems. "Surpassed" shortly after the First World War, pushed to the space designed for the absurd idealism by perceptions that declared themselves to be "realistic" or "critical", as realize Luiz Nazario – in the essay at the volume on the subject edited by Perspective with the title O Expressionismo –, this Jewish and secular Renaissance based in the denying of the permanence and its many avatars, opting instead for the unstable direction and the constant threat of dispersion and exile. The dispersion of the death and the reality of exile, moreover, was the expressionism creators fate already during the 1914-17 War, then along the whirlwind of revolutions and strong regimes across Europe in the years 1920-30 to the seizure of power by the Nazis in Germany, World War II and the Holocaust. Thus, the artists who survived the persecutions and remained more or less faithful to the spirit of the crisis, germinal essence of Expressionism (few artists of these kind of spirit, it is true however, were converted to Nazism often to be thrown out shortly after as occurred with Gottfried Benn or Emil Nolde) could, from the distant exile view, to attend the detonations of the two atomic bombs in Japan, strange ritual closing of 1939-45 cycle that seemed to crown human barbarity, the last brick in the pile of atrocities. This happened with, among others, the extraordinary Yvan Goll .
Born in St. Dié, France, in 1891, Goll represented the most cosmopolitan European culture and German face in the early twentieth century. He was a friend of Stefan Zweig, Hans Arp, James Joyce, engaged in polemics with André Breton, organiser of literary journals throughout much of Europe and USA, initially an author that illustrated the programmatic aspects of expressionism called "the social scream" by critics like João Barrento. Goll poems in this period as much like "Der Panamakanal", filled with a visionary social messianism in verses like the following (in translation of João Barrento from the collection A alma e o caos: 100 poemas expressionistas): "They knew nothing about the oceans and humankind liberation. / Nothing about the radiant revolution of the spirit." Some critics, like the Barrento in the introductory essay to the translation, may undervalue these first poetic moment images at the Goll's work, filled with an exalted and abstract politicisation, but it is undeniable that Fruit from Saturn is beyond the possible limits of utopian or merely idealized worker, science, progress, future figuration. In the face of the new, obscure and barbarous atomic myth Goll can only give the poetic deconstruction answer of this very myth through the short circuit of dying esoteric and sacred conceptions. The result is a brief and intense cycle of poems in English created during his last exile (in the U.S.), in which we could see the continuous atomic birth / destruction of the Tree of Knowledge fruits. Chain reaction, which raises the atomic energy via automatic, unstoppable process in which birth and death appear solidly connected, neutralising the long mythical dance of overcome past religions. Thus, the energy evoked by modern physics makes all the deities, extinct or persistent, laughable to put forth a Sun in full splendor in the middle of a city or in some prosaic task like driving a reactor to light a city or boost a submarine. Goll realizes very well that the new atomic religion can only be understood and demystified by the use of old knowledge schemes, the old religion and its myths: suddenly, there are this metaphysical parade where we could see Lilith, Raziel, Maimonides, Abulafia, Memnon, the Samsara. The crushed Myths resurface to salute the absolute destructiveness of the new atomic world, destructiveness that was previously only mentioned in the epic poetic imagination: "From earth arose the flaming Name / From floral whorls from spectral horns / On the high hour of death."
The small cycle of poems by Yvan Goll had a deserved editorial treatment given by Brazilian Sol Negro Edições, from Natal (RN). A artisan and meticulous design work makes the bilingual book a little publishing gem with some image reproductions extremely significant accompanying each poem, plus critical introduction and an interesting manifesto authored by Goll, with his peculiar vision of surrealism. We look forward to not only new editions of the Sol Negro, but that its initiative inspires other small publish houses in all Brazil.