On March 29, 1929, Filippo Marinetti, one of the baddest of all avant-garde bad boys, was nominated to the Royal Academy of Italy by Mussolini, in recognition of Marinetti’s national and international fame and his support for the regime.
The following poem, responding to the “honor,” is by Álvaro de Campos, one of the major heteronyms of the great Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. It is of note that Pessoa had corresponded with Marinetti, and that, as co-founder, in 1917, of the journal Portugal Futurista, the former was sympathetic to avant-garde aesthetics evolving directly out of Futurism. So too, clearly, was de Campos, a very Futurist-like poet. Pessoa was never nominated to anything, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have accepted, of course. Though one can say that Álvaro de Campos would most certainly have not.
Here they all come, here comes everybody . . .
Any day, unless there’s a sale on, I’ll arrive, too . . .
Everyone was born for this . . .
I can’t get out of it except by dying beforehand,
I can’t get out of it except by climbing the Great Wall . . .
If I stay here, they’ll socialize me . . .
Here comes everybody, because they were born to This,
And you only arrive at it by being born to it . . .
Here comes everybody . . .
Marinetti, academician . . .
The Muses will avenge themselves with electric lamps, old friend,
In the end they’ll set you up in footlights in an old cellar,
And your dynamic, always an Italian mouthful, f-f-f-f-f-f . . . . . . . . . . . .
– translated by Chris Daniels